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Part 2: How to avoid being scammed

Most homeowners don't know to evaluate a company, which has resulted in millions of vulnerable homeowners being scammed. You can't rely on anyone, but yourself to do the proper due diligence. We can't stress the importance of reviewing this information PRIOR to deciding to work with ANY company.

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Part 2: How to avoid being scammed

  1. 1. Choose Confidence. Choose Experience. Choose The Homeowner Defense Network. © 2013 The Homeowner Defense Network
  2. 2. We understand this is a difficult time for you. We know you are faced with endless conflicting and misleading information from others, including your bank. Once you understand the process and what your options are, you can make a decision that best for you and your family. We hope to be a resource you can trust time and time again. It is prudent and our recommendation that you should always seek advice from an attorney or tax professional with any questions you have regarding your property, financing, tax liability and/or foreclosure. The HDN is not a loan modification company, foreclosure consultant or law firm and does not provide loan modification products in California. Congratulationson being proactive! © 2013 The Homeowner Defense Network
  3. 3. Part 2: How to avoid being scammed © 2013 The Homeowner Defense Network
  4. 4.  The government can only do so much to prevent scams.  More than 99% of people don’t know how to evaluate a company.  Learn how to check out a company before hiring them.  Find out if a company is right for you. Sadly, you are at a high risk of being scammed. © 2013 The Homeowner Defense Network
  5. 5.  The Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule (MARS) bans loan mod companies from collecting upfront fees in all 50 states.  MARS is a federal ruling, and state regulations may also apply.  Most attorneys and loan mod products were made exempt.  See the whole text here: Be aware of the laws. © 2013 The Homeowner Defense Network
  6. 6. Don’t be fooled or mislead!  No one, including law firms, your bank, or the government, can guarantee success of modifying your loan, let alone specific terms.  Ultimately up to your lender to determine what programs you qualify for, based on your financials, and which terms you’ll get.  100% money back guarantees can be misleading if its difficult to get your money back or if the company goes out of business. Be wary of promises. © 2013 The Homeowner Defense Network
  7. 7.  Every verbal claim, is worthless unless it’s also in writing.  Make note of all verbal claims and compare your notes to the written agreement provided by the company.  Make sure you understand the contract and what you are agreeing to, not what the representative told you on the phone.  You might find out the contract states there aren’t any refunds, even if you were told otherwise. Getit in writing. © 2013 The Homeowner Defense Network
  8. 8.  Deceptive mail looks official and tells you to act quickly before you forfeit legal rights or government program deadlines.  Looks similar to legitimate correspondence from your lender and could even have your bank name and loan/account number on it.  Scrutinize the letter and somewhere you see fine print that discloses it’s an advertisement. Be carefulof deceptive marketing. © 2013 The Homeowner Defense Network
  9. 9.  No one can guarantee how a judge will rule.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Quiet the title of a property = get you a “free and clear home”  California Dept. of Real Estate has warned consumers against these strategies because the risks aren’t fully disclosed.  “Mass Joinder” and "Mass Tort” Watch out for recommendedlawsuits. © 2013 The Homeowner Defense Network
  10. 10.  Check with the Attorney General’s Office in your state to inquire if there are any complaints on file.  They may also be able to help you determine if the company should be licensed or not to provide the services they are selling.  Check to see if the attorney is licensed to provide legal service by going to the website for the Bar association in the state. Check for complaints and licenses. © 2013 The Homeowner Defense Network
  11. 11.  Complaints may or may not be real, valid or accurate but it won’t take long for you to recognize a pattern of complaints.  Not every customer is going to be happy. That’s a fact. But it’s how the company handles those customers that’s more important.  You want a company that will work hard to resolve any issue that might arise, not get upset over it. Use the internetto search for complaints. © 2013 The Homeowner Defense Network
  12. 12.  Businesses pay the BBB to be accredited and get graded.  BBB is a non-profit, but their executives are prospering through their grading system making $100,000 to $400,000+ per year.  ABC 20/20 investigation exposed how companies can “pay to get an A” and erase filed complaints.  Disneyland, Wolfgang Puck, and Ritz Carlton Boston, all had F ratings. “This rating system is unworthy of consumer trust or confidence.. and could be illegal because the failure to disclose to consumers could well be deceptive and misleading.“ -Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut State Attorney General Valid concernswith the Better Business Bureau (BBB). © 2013 The Homeowner Defense Network
  13. 13.  Non-accredited companies with high grades, may have earned it!  Most critical parts of the online BBB report to consider:  How long has company been in business?  How many recent complaints?  Any unanswered or unresolved complaints? If so, big red flag!  Use the complaints you may find and the responses as an example of the integrity and professionalism of the company. What’s useful on the BBB website? © 2013 The Homeowner Defense Network
  14. 14.  Consumer advocates evaluate and test companies and firms so you don’t get scammed by illegitimate and dishonest people.  Most companies and firms will not provide you with what you need to evaluate them or allow you to speak with their clients.  Companies and firms are more likely to cooperate with a consumer advocate because of their media and public influence. Find your consumeradvocatetoday. © 2013 The Homeowner Defense Network
  15. 15.  Doug is a consumer advocate, investigative journalist, talk radio show host, lecturer and author. He’s evaluated 700+ companies.  Receives hundreds of calls and emails weekly from consumers.  Experienced private investigator team that conducts background investigations on the principles or owners of companies.  Prior to sending money to any company or firm who claims they can assist you take advantage of his 13 years of research . Meet consumeradvocateDoug Johnson. © 2013 The Homeowner Defense Network
  16. 16. Frequently asked questions © 2013 The Homeowner Defense Network
  17. 17.  What do you offer?  Besides relief, we offer education and proven programs so you can stay in your home, get back on track and restore your credit. We will only move forward with you as a customer if confident you will be successful.  How much does this cost?  The value of our programs vary, but we will provide you with a free income and property analysis to determine if you are acceptable. Upon request, we can also recommend law firms that would bill you direct for their services.  Can I speak with your success stories?  Yes of course! We also many recommendations and testimonials on our website. First, so we don’t waste your time, let’s ensure you are acceptable. Frequentlyasked questions © 2013 The Homeowner Defense Network
  18. 18. Our goal is for you to restoreyour financial stabilityand discoverrelief. Our contact information is: 619.MODIFY.8 (619.663.4398) Call or text! Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST © 2013 The Homeowner Defense Network