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Avoid Foreclosure Scams: Movie Theater Commercial Educates Audiences

[Apr 9, 2009.]


In her colunn The Color of Money, Michelle Singletary notes that the FTC has put together a short commercial to be shown in nine states with the highest rates of foreclosure.  Although the trend for seemingly endless strings of commercials between feature films is definitely a nuisance, this one might be worth watching.

The 30 second spots, which will be shown in movie theaters in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia through April 17, caution audiences to avoid foreclosure scams that can potentially cause desperate homeowners to lose both their money and their homes. With mortgage rates at or near historic lows, many homeowners would normally qualify to refinance to lower rates, but factors including lower property values tightening credit and faltering job markets have made it impossible for many homeowners to refinance to more favorable mortgage rates and terms.

In the pre-movie announcements, audiences are advised to check out the Federal Trade Commission's website to read more about foreclosure scams and how they work.

In spite of claims by agencies and individuals offering "foreclosure help." most any type of legitimate foreclosure prevention program can be accessed directly through mortgage servicers, non profit credit counseling agencies and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website. HUD's homepage also provides information about federal assistance for homeowners in distress. These programs are designed to assist homeowners who are struggling with adjustable rate mortgages or other exotic loan terms that cause payments to rise quickly; these types of mortgages may carry rates significantly higher than current market interest rates, but the homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, and cannot refinance.

Mortgage calculator tools are widely available online and can help homeowners understand how reducing mortgage rates through refinancing or modifying mortgage loan terms can help reduce payments and stabilize payments by converting from an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed rate mortgage (FRM) at or near current market rates.

Using calculator tools to compare mortgage rates, terms and features can help homeowners determine what type of mortgage to look for before contacting lenders. This can help pinpoint affordability and mortgage rates and terms that suit individual budgets and financial goals. Homeowners facing foreclosure can fall prey to scammers; anyone receiving unsolicited offers of "foreclosure help" should beware.


About Author:

Karen Lawson is a freelance writer with extensive experience in mortgage banking and home loan loss mitigation programs. She holds BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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