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01/24/10

Couple Share Mortgage Nightmare

In 2008, Philip and Woodley Jenkins of Sandston, Virginia, paid Real Estate Negotiation Services $1,000 to help them modify their mortgage.  The Florida-based loan modification consulting firm took their money and advised them to stop making mortgage payments but did not secure them a modification.  Now, in 2010, the couple is struggling to keep up with mortgage payments that are higher than ever as a result of the payments they missed due to the firm's bad advice.

The Jenkinses, both of whom are on disability, had recently refinanced their mortgage to a higher rate when they approached Real Estate Negotiation Services after searching the internet for loan modification assistance.  After the firm told them that they did not qualify for a loan modification and then receiving a foreclosure notice, they worked with their servicer to modify their loan.  They were able to do so and are still in their home, but their experience with phantom foreclosure counseling has damaged their financial well-being.

Phantom foreclosure counseling is one of the most common types of ploys used by scammers to take money from distressed homeowners.  The Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network encourages homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure to seek help from a HUD-certified housing counseling agency.  Homeowners should never pay an upfront fee for help with a loan modification.

For more information, read the Richmond Times-Dispatch article, "Couple Share Mortgage Nightmare."