Finance

Avoid Loan Modification Scams

Even the most reasonable and scam savvy among us can be taken in by loan modification scams when we are desperate. Well, now it’s happened to me – I fell for a loan modification scam. In my case, it wasn’t a mortgage modification, it was an auto loan modification. I had actually worked with my first and second mortgage lenders myself and managed to get great loan modifications from both. But when it came to my car loan, which I had paid on time for six years, I had no luck with the lender when I wanted to extend the lease and get the payments reduced, so I turned in desperation to an ad on Craigslist – And I got burned by a loan modification scam. This greed to Get Money Fast is not a good option. With much higher rates of interest, you might get crushed under your loan amount and would end up giving more money to the bank and would lower your credit score as well.

It seemed so reasonable, so rational, so logical. This “law group” told me that since they were lawyers they could get things done that I couldn’t. They told me they would file certain papers pertaining to certain laws and so my auto lender would have to refrain from any attempts to collect from me while they negotiated a new and better payment. They told me to stop making payments to the lender. They told me not to talk to the lender anymore because that would interfere with their negotiations. They told me they were going to sue the lender for infractions in my original loan and so the lender would negotiate a new loan with me to get out of being sued.

So I did as I was told, but nothing these loan modification scam artists told me they would do ever happened. They did send the power of attorney to the lender so they could talk to them. But they did not stop the lender from coming after me. I started receiving threatening letters after a couple of months because I had stopped paying. I started receiving calls. The lender told me they were going to repossess the car so I stopped driving it months ago, afraid to take it out of the garage until this was done.

I would call and email the “law group” repeatedly, waiting anxiously for days before getting through to anyone, then only getting low-level “grunts” who would assure me they cared and that they were working on it. They never allowed me to talk to my attorney. I don’t even know if there really was one. And then, when I had become increasingly frightened and all the more desperate, they told me they would be unable to get me a loan modification after all, but if I would give them thousands more dollars they could do a bankruptcy for me to save my car!

With increasing pressure from the lender and nothing but the run around from these loan modification scammers, I finally talked to the lender again. I was told that they had never heard of this “law group” and that they hadn’t done anything on my file. The lady I spoke with was actually very nice and even called back after googling the “law group” I had hired and she warned me that I had been taken in by a loan modification scam. I sent six emails to them yesterday. All of them bounced back to me. I called repeatedly then and tried again this morning, each time it now says “all circuits are busy”. I tried to log into the website to look at the status of my case with the password they gave me. It no longer works. I have been locked out.

So I can only admit that I fell for a loan modification scam. Me. The one that checked so carefully into mortgage modification companies for months before deciding to take care of that myself to avoid a loan modification scam. It just goes to show you that we all must be doubly wary, especially when we are desperate and vulnerable, and especially when the loan modification scams are becoming so slick. I hope my experience will help you avoid a loan modification scam.

Paola

Paola Garcia lives in Jakarta Indonesia. She is an associate professor in University of Indonesia and also managing Scoopinion at the same time. She is also fond of watching theatrical plays.

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