Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and partners in the Loan Modification Scam Alert Campaign will host a free information session on foreclosure prevention and loan modification programs and scams for consumers. The forum is scheduled for Wednesday, September 21, 2011, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at the Pawtucket Visitors Center, 175 Main Street, Pawtucket. The event is free of charge and open to the public. No prior registration is required to attend and Spanish-speaking counselors will be available.
The event aims to help consumers with loan modification and other related mortgage issues. Consumers can also schedule appointments with the various HUD-approved counseling agencies at the event.
In the United States, the number of homes receiving initial default notices swelled by 33% from July to August, 2011, a nine-month high and the biggest month-to-month increase in four years.
“With such a surge in foreclosure proceedings, we want to ensure that Rhode Island homeowners are aware of the legitimate resources available to help them,” said Attorney General Kilmartin. “For most Rhode Island families, their home is their most important asset. When faced with foreclosure, many consumers are scared and don’t know where to turn. It is so important for consumers to educate themselves so that they do not fall victim to loan modification scam artists trying to make a quick buck.”
“It is particularly unscrupulous to take advantage of people already in dire straits. I am appalled that unethical individuals have targeted vulnerable homeowners who came to them looking for assistance,” continued Attorney General Kilmartin. “In Rhode Island, under the Mortgage Foreclosure Consultant Registration Act it is illegal for companies to charge any fees for foreclosure assistance until consumers receive all the services for which they paid. With this information session, we are giving Rhode Island homeowners the tools to protect themselves from being scammed.”
Just last week, Attorney General Kilmartin announced that the Office of Attorney General had shut down two fraudulent mortgage modification consultants. The consultants allegedly had required homeowners to pay an upfront fee ranging from $1,000 - $3,000 in advance of providing services. The consultants also represented that they could secure lower, fixed interest rates, principal reductions, lower monthly payments and forgiveness of arrearages. After not performing the services for which they were contracted, the consultants refused to refund clients’ money.
The Housing Network of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Housing, FNMA, Blackstone Valley Community Action Program, Providence Community Action Program, Money Management International and NeighborWorks are partners of the Rhode Island Loan Modification Scam Campaign and will be at this event. More information about HUD-approved housing counseling agencies in Rhode Island is available at www.loanscamalert.org.
For additional information about the forum, consumers can call Tammy Miller, Director of the Consumer Protection Unit at the Office of Attorney General, at (401) 274-4400 x2397.