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Mike Taibbi, NBC NewsWith the mortgage industry failing, many homeowners find themselves financially vulnerable. Now experts warn some companies are offering mortgage rescues that are actually scams that could cost you everything.
When Susan Eudy fell behind on her mortgage payments she turned to a company that offered to save her home from foreclosure for a fee.
"They made it sound so real--that they could really help me--if I gave them one month's house payment then they could stop the foreclosure and get everything back on track," Susan explained.
Companies like the one Susan dealt with often take cash from customers up front in exchange for a promise to stop a foreclosure. The scammers then do nothing, and simply pocket the money as a consulting fee.
As the housing crisis worsens, more homeowners may be at risk. "The BBB has received hundreds of complaints this year alone, whereas in the last two, three years we maybe received 50 to 100 complaints, so this is definitely a growing problem," explained Alison Preszler of the Better Business Bureau.
In recent years, 14 states have enacted laws to protect consumers from foreclosure scams, and attorney generals in four states have filed suit against specific companies.
To tell the difference between legitimate companies and ones just after your money, the BBB stresses doing your research. "The one thing people don't want to do is just go online, search for mortgage foreclosure rescue and pick a company out of the blue. Chances are you're going to end up with someone who is going to take your money and you'll still lose your house," Preszler said.
Not all companies offering assistance are scams. A list of credible companies is available by clicking the related link.