The message from city hall Monday morning: there is help out there, but make sure you know where and from whom you're getting that help.
A partnership of local, state and national government agencies -- real ones -- along with nonprofit groups and financial institutions gathered to launch a public education campaign about loan scams. They want to raise awareness of loan modification scams that have hurt many people in our own area following the nationwide recession.
Scammers put a lot of money into advertising and pedaling false hopes but there are ways to protect yourself.
- If you're asked to pay a fee in advance, think twice. Real loan modifications don't work that way.
- If you’re told to stop paying your lender, it's a scam.
- If someone is guaranteeing you that they will stop your foreclosure, it is likely a scam: even legitimate debt counselors can’t promise that.
- If you hear the words "government approved loans" it's probably a scam.
- If anyone other than your lender or a HUD-approved agency that you contacted asks you for financial information, do not give it.
LA is one of several metro areas in California to consistently rank among cities with the highest forecloser rates.