Mayor Daley Warns Struggling Homeowners to Beware of Scam Artists

August 18, 2010

More than one-quarter of all Chicago homeowners are underwater, which means they owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.

That feeling of helplessness can leave homeowners feeling desperate, and sadly, there are those who might try to take advantage of that vulnerability.

Mayor Daley speaks at a press conference Wednesday about scam artists at the Neighborhood Housing Services Office.

Mayor Richard M. Daley held a press conference today warning residents about loan modification scams.

Daley said that loan modification scam artists claim they can help a homeowner save their home or modify their loans … for a fee.

The Mayor’s warnings come on a day when the City filed a lawsuit against a loan modification company called E.A.C. Financial and the two people behind it.

Apparently, the company took money from homeowners up-front for loan modification services. That is against the law in Illinois.

“Getting help to stay out of foreclosure and keeping your home doesn’t mean paying a fee,” said Mayor Daley. “Advice and assistance are available from trusted non-profit organizations working in partnership with the City of Chicago, at no cost to the homeowner.”

EAC didn’t bother actually helping homeowners, either, so double shame on them or anyone who could take advantage of people in such dire straits.

Mayor Daley said residents should avoid anyone who:

*Asks for a fee before providing services

*Tells you to stop paying your mortgage and pay them instead

*Guarantees they will stop a foreclosure or modify a loan

“Especially in these difficult times, we must come up with new ways to help more people in more neighborhoods of Chicago remain homeowners,” said Mayor Daley. “Over the past several years, through many of the free services offered by the City, residents have come to consider the City a trusted source of information in fighting foreclosure and modifying their loans.”

The city is hosting a free “Fix Your Mortgage” event this Saturday at Northside College Prep High School, 5501 N. Kedzie. Register in advance to assure yourself a spot.

If you can’t make it on Saturday, know there are other options.

“We must work together to keep families in their homes and create solutions that will protect our neighborhoods,” said Daley. “I encourage residents to call 311 for a referral to a trusted agency that can offer assistance or visit to learn more about how to avoid loan modification scams.”

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