Here is an excerpt from a great piece by Lauren Tara LaCapra for TheStreet.com.
The piece is titled Opportunists Pounce Amid Mortgage Mess.
Call them savvy entrepreneurs or shady wheelers-and-dealers, but small mortgage-workout shops have sprouted up across the country like wildfire, promising to deliver results in a speedy fashion. They often have names that evoke a mix of strength, expertise and patriotism: Amerisave Mortgage Corp., Bank Modification Experts, American Home Relief, US Loan Relief or, simply, ObamaHousingPlan.net.
It’s difficult for the average consumer to tell which companies are legitimate. The firms tend to use marketing lingo that paints them as helpful, non-profit consumer agencies, or associates them with the president’s housing program.
For example, www.2009obamahomereliefplan.com is decked out in red, white and blue, with a video of President Obama at the top of the site. In a press release with a Washington dateline it promotes “Refinements to Existing Administration Programs Designed to Help Unemployed, Underwater Borrowers While Helping Administration Meet its Goals.” It offers “drastic rate reductions,” “elimination of fees and penalties” and the ability to “stop foreclosures immediately” through a 24-hour hotline.
Yet the site isn’t directly associated with the federal government or its housing programs. Nor does it actually modify mortgages or stop foreclosures. It also presents inaccurate information, telling visitors that only first mortgages are eligible, when the administration has been prodding banks to participate in the second-lien workout program as well.
Efforts to contact 2009 Obama Home Relief Plan directly were unsuccessful. Charles Favor, a representative of a company reached through a phone number featured on the site, explained that it acts as a “lead-generator” to steer visitors to other third-party specialists like himself. Those specialists coach homeowners on presenting information in the most beneficial way to get a workout.
Please read the full piece here.