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Slick loan modification scam targets Florida homeowners

“[T]his is first-class stuff here. The documents are nearly flawless.”

So says a Port Charlotte foreclosure attorney in regard to bogus loan-modification packets being mailed to financially challenged homeowners throughout Southwest Florida. His assessment spells trouble for some of the recipients of those modification offers, who are being flatly fooled by the documents’ legitimate look and sophisticated presentation.

What readily differentiates the modification offers from other bogus mailings is their accuracy and polish. The documents arrive at a targeted customer’s home via FedEx and seemingly prepared by Wells Fargo Bank. They contain an offer letter, spelled-out terms, a loan application, a request for tax documents and even information concerning a government homeowners’ program, replete with an official logo, a website and a bona-fide phone number.

What fools many people is the inclusion of accurate personal information relating to an original Wells Fargo mortgage, household income and other matters. Much of that information can reportedly be obtained through perusal of publicly available court records.

That legitimate look and feel entices a number of desperate homeowners to succumb to the scam. In a number of instances, they have provided Social Security numbers, birth information and other data that exposes them to ID theft and fraud.

Importantly, too, they send money, which is requested as up-front processing fees and several months of payments.

And then, of course, they never hear back and are several thousand dollars poorer for having been scammed.

Florida is fertile territory for such a ruse, with the state reportedly having more than 250,000 pending foreclosure cases as of the end of last year.

A request for up-front fees in a loan modification is inherently suspicious, notes a recent Florida media article discussing the scam.

As this blog has previously noted, an experienced and licensed bankruptcy attorney has a legal duty to act in the best interests of a client in any foreclosure or other debt-related matter.

Persons with questions or concerns regarding a loan modification or other debt-relief program can receive candid advice and diligent representation from a proven Miami bankruptcy lawyer.

Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune, "Mortgage modification scam shows growing sophistication," Josh Salman, Feb. 13, 2014

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