Mortgage

New Mexico homeowners targeted by fake ‘Ocwen’ loan modification scam

State issues warning on fraudulent 'Making Home Affordable' scheme

New Mexico’s Attorney General issued a warning to the state’s citizens recently, advising them to be on guard for a “dangerous new scam” that supposedly offers a “Making Home Affordable” mortgage modification from Ocwen Financial (OCN).

According to the office of Attorney General Hector Balderas, some struggling New Mexico homeowners have received letters purportedly from Ocwen, offering a mortgage modification under the government’s “Making Home Affordable” program, but the letters are not from Ocwen – and there are no modifications to be had.

The Attorney General’s office said that New Mexico homeowners are being asked to send money to individuals posing as Ocwen as a “trial payment” for a mortgage modification.

One such letter, provided by the AG as an example, says that if borrowers make three payments within a two-month period, they will be approved for a modification.

The letter states that if they do not make the payments, their loan will not be modified under the Making Home Affordable program.

The letter goes on the borrowers existing loan and loan requirements “remain in effect and unchanged during the trial period.”

The letter concludes, “If you have any questions of if you cannot afford the trial period payment shown above but want to remain in your home, of if you have decided to leave your home but still want to avoid foreclosure, please call us.”

The name of the person that signed the letter is redacted, but the below the redacted signature, it lists “HAMP” and “Ocwen Finance LLC,” giving the appearance that the person works for “HAMP” and “Ocwen Finance LLC.”

Ocwen’s full name is Ocwen Financial Corporation, not Ocwen Finance.

The letter also directs consumers to “Ocwen.MortgageBankSite.com,” an inactive website that directs borrowers to Ocwen’s actual servicing site,  “OcwenCustomers.com.”

According to the AG’s office, Ocwen investigated the matter and determined that “third-parties” are posing as Ocwen employees to obtain payment from consumers.

The scam involves consumers receiving a letter from “Ocwen” that tells them that they are being offered a “trial payment plan” or loan modification. The consumer is directed to call a person to make the payments by Moneygram.

According to the AG’s office, the scammers will “spoof” an Ocwen phone number so it appears that they are calling from Ocwen. In many cases, the phone number listed on the scam letters has a “214” area code, which is for parts of Dallas.

“Do not pay Ocwen mortgage payments by Moneygram in response to a ‘Making Home Affordable’ offer,” Balderas’ advisory states.

The AG’s office said that Ocwen is currently working with the United States Postal Inspection Service to investigate the matter as mail fraud.

In a statement, Ocwen said that it is “aware of the situation and is actively investigating it.”

(h/t the Albuquerque Journal)

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