Calling a Piece of Junk Mail

mortgage spam emailI just published about junk mail that I received on my blog… but it doesn’t even compare to the piece of garbage we received in the mail today.  In fact, it was so bad, that I decided to call them to learn more about their services.

The mailer looks very official. It states “important legal information inside – please open immediately”.  No where on this POS does it disclose who this is from.  Not on the upper left corner of the envelope and nor in the actual body.

It does reference our mortgage company who originated the mortgage (Mortgage Master Service Corporation) and in the tiniest of small print at the bottom, discloses they’re not related to the mortgage company.

It goes on to say that the letter is from the “Loss Mitigation Administration Office” and that we receiving the notice because we may be eligible for “special modification program guidelines in conjunction with the New 2012 Home Modification Program… HAMP2 is an aggressive update to Obama’s original program. This new program may enable you to modify your existing home loan and reduce your monthly mortgage payments, receive interest rate reductions…without the traditional restrictions of credit history, income or employment status, equity and reserves…”

It goes on to offer a 2% fixed interest rate and says our information is “on file”… and if we don’t respond by July 13, 2012, we may not get this swell deal because “only a limited number of people can qualify”.

GARBAGE!!

So… I decided to call the toll free number after googling it, did not reveal who was sending us this great offer.

The gentleman on the phone had a very pleasant, soothing voice.  He answers the phone “Loss Mitigation Department, can I help you?”

Me: Yes, I’d like to know who sent a mailer to my home regarding HAMP?

Him: [He reveals it's a law firm - I'm not going to promote them here].

Me: Why did I receive this? I’m not behind on my mortgage? Don’t you need to not qualify for a regular refi or HARP to have a HAMP loan modification?”

Him: Our company has done searches to determine who may be at risk for a loan mod, perhaps you’re underwater? Lets say you have a $350,000 mortgage but your home is only worth $250,000.

Me: My home is not underwater and we’re not behind on our payments. I’m confused how I could qualify for a HAMP or why I would want one.

Him: Well you might want to consider a HAMP over a refinance because refi’s are so costly. Most have a 1% origination fee and 3.5% loan cost.

At this point, it’s hard for me to not totally blast him.  He’s so far from the truth…

Me: what are your fees?

Him: I really can’t say.  There’s a range depending on what you need.  Who is this?

Me: You can quote costs for refi’s but you can’t give me a range for you charge?

Him: We have a flat fee of $3700 on many of our transactions. Clients are grateful for the service we provide. We can often do better than what a home owner might when dealing with their mortgage servicer directly.

Me: How are you coming up with the fees  you’re comparing for a refi?

Him: You’re sounding like a “professional”, can I help you with a loan mod?

Me: No. You cannot. I am a mortgage originator you the fees you’re telling consumers for a refinance are way off base.

Him: Do you call on every piece of junk mail that you receive?

Me: I see we agree on something – this IS a total piece of junk mail and no, this is a first. It was so disgusting, I had to call to see who sent this to me.

If I were considering a loan mod, I would NOT select assistance by some scammy piece of junk mail. It sickens me when I think of folks who truly need help and might fall hard for something like this.

Why can’t they be upfront and disclose they’re an attorney’s firm and for $X, they’ll try to get you a loan mod.?

I’ll be sending this piece of solicitation to DFI for review.

Here’s information from DFI’s site regarding Loan Modifications and signs to watch out for.

About Rhonda Porter

Rhonda Porter is an NMLS Licensed Mortgage Originator MLO121324 for homes located in Washington state. Her blog, The Mortgage Porter, is nationally recognized for sharing relevant information to consumers about mortgages.

She has been originating mortgages since 2000 at Mortgage Master Service Corporation #40445 Consumer NMLS Website: http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/TuringTestPage.aspx?ReturnUrl=/EntityDetails.aspx/COMPANY/40445
NMLS ID 40445. Equal Housing Opportunity.

You can follow Rhonda on @mortgageporter, Facebook and/or Google+

Comments

  1. Rhonda, if its a law firm, consider a complaint to the WA State Bar Association. There are very strict rules that govern attorney advertising, and the Bar is charged with enforcing them. If a law firm is soliciting new clients using deceptive or untruthful advertising, the Bar is the place to go. They take complaints against lawyers pretty seriously, and they have real teeth when it comes to correcting bad behavior.

  2. Hi Craig, will do! I think it’s tacky (to say the least) that they didn’t even identify who they are on the mailer and lead the borrower to believe they’re from the “loss mitigation department” of the mortgage servicer – no one is going to think it’s from an attorney’s firm that bought leads.

  3. And that is exactly the sort of deceptive advertising that an attorney is barred from using. Go get ‘em, Grrrl!!

  4. Rhonda,

    I’m pretty sure I received the same letter and had the same reaction save for the phone call. I showed it to my wife and said it should be illegal to send such a letter. Talk about bottom of the barrel.

  5. It’s especially upsetting because it’s targeting people who are most likely in a desperate situation and who have been told “no” by their lender. I wish I could have stayed cool enough to ask them when the $3700 (an example of their fees) was due and if a loan mod was not achieved, would their fee be returned.

  6. Mary Christensen says:

    I also received one of these special modification program guidelines for modifying a rental property mortgage for my Limited Liability Corporation. The email they sent me was with Interstate Law Group Attorneys at Law from Las Vegas. Do you know if this is a real company. I tried searching for them on the Washington State site and got no status.

  7. Gary Bracht says:

    Great response Rhonda, especially DFI. I think they would likely take a look, hopefully sooner than later.

  8. Rhonda:

    Nice article, thanks for writing!

    As a loan originator, it is distressing to take the calls from my clients about mail pieces like these.

    I generally tell them if they want or need a loan modification, they are far better off deaing with a local attorney.

  9. Beth Kljajic says:

    I, too, received the mailing from SC Law Group. Since it said the exact same things, I’m ‘assuming’ that’s who yours was from, too. The loan amounts were over $1 million; Previous and Modified.

    Talked to a Reg Kyles there and really got a crazy go around. My mortgages are all jumbos. I’m not sure but I don’t think HAMP or HAMP2 cover jumbos. What am I missing; did they think I’d just pay them for fun.

    I’ll try to file a complaint with the Illinois Bar Association. Good idea, Craig.

  10. I get so many junk mail mailings about my mortgage that I don’t even open them anymore. They are obviously fishing for people down on their luck who have no where to turn… and such a solicitation would seem heaven-sent especially if you had been turned down for a refi before.

    Thanks for spotlighting this issue.

  11. Rhonda,

    Very nice article! I received the same solicitation in the mail
    today. I’m curious, do any of you have mortgages with bank of America(BoA)
    or their affiliates(use affiliates lightly!!!)? I ask because I contacted bank
    Of America two weeks ago to inquire about a loan modification.
    I was told I didn’t qualify but ironically I received the same solicitation
    you are writing about today. I understand that most deeds and deeds
    Of trust are public records, but due to the timing of the mail i received
    And when I spoke to BoA, I am concerned that someone at
    BoA may be violating BoA’s privacy laws.

    Eugene

  12. Rhonda Porter says:

    Hi Eugene, I do not work with Bank of America nor do I have any relationship with them or any “affiliates”. Deeds and Deeds of Trust are public record – it’s sad how much private information is for sale to use for this type of information. It might not have come from BoA since so much is public record.

  13. Anolymous Joe says:

    I suspect, a criminal here might be the current mortgage lender! Why? Here is why – I contacted my current lender (bank) for a HARP inquiry recently. I am regular on payments, but I was wondering to reduce the interest rate. They said that I do not qualify for HARP. Guess what! I received that piece of junk from “Loss Mitigation Administrative Office” following my HARP/refinance inquiry. Looks like my current lender keeps selling every bit of development on my movement. Is this legal?

  14. Joe, I think it could be a coincidence – we weren’t refinancing or trying to when we received that piece of junk mail. Your information is for sale – it’s amazing (disgusting) how much of it is.

    When I run credit reports for my clients, I wait to add their phone numbers and email addresses just to do what I can to keep their information private.

  15. I just received a robo-call to offering to renegotiate my mortgage – saying that all lenders have to do this and guess what, we qualify… hold now for an operator… I did.

    A “Mark” from the Renegotiation Department answered the phone and quickly hung up on me when I asked what company he was working for.

    It’s really disgusting to me that people try to get business this way and take advantage of folks who really might need help.

    Dirt bags!!!

  16. Rhonda-

    I received the same thing but obviously won’t be going in that direction. I would like to see what options are out there for me… HAMP, HARP, etc. Who should I contact? My lender says they won’t honor either program (which I know to be a lie) so that is as far as I can get with them.

    Paige

  17. I too received this junkmail piece. What tipped me off was the rather rude statement “HAMP2 is an aggressive update to Obama’s original program”.
    It is not “Obama’s program”, it is a piece of legislation that
    THE PRESIDENT supports.
    Please people, show some damn respect!!

    • I called these people and when I told them I did not have the $3700 they suggested I quit making my house payments. It would improve getting a modification and I would have the cash to pay them and other bills.

  18. Thanks, Rhonda, for your valuable post! I hate junk mail in general, but the purported offer was so intriguing. Apparently the State of Pennsylvania allows this type of operation to exist in that State. Arrrrgh!

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