Money back guaranteesHoward Shmuckler, owner of The Shmuckler Group in Vienna, Va., collected almost $2.8 million from struggling homeowners by promising them he could guarantee a loan modification under the Home Affordable Modification Program. He told these homeowners to stop making their mortgage payments and to avoid contact with their lenders.
Every mortgage relief scam is horrible, and Howard Shmuckler's scam was devastating for his victims. Victims of these scams not only lose a lot of money, but they lose the time when they could have been working directly with HAMP to save their homes. A lot of scammers tell people they can guarantee a loan modification or guarantee that they can stop a foreclosure, but unfortunately a guarantee is never possible.
Some of Shmuckler's victims might have been able to modify their mortgages under HAMP if they had not become so far behind on the mortgage by following Shmuckler's advice.
Shmuckler charged for his nonexistent services. Jones warns that some scammers, knowing consumers have been warned against paying an upfront fee, now wait until a second or third meeting before requesting a fee.
Homeowners should never pay a fee for loan modification assistance. Government and nonprofit housing counselors provide this service for free.