BBB Tip of the Week: Mortgage audit
• Who wants to perform my outside mortgage audit? Did you receive a “mortgage audit notice” in the mail last weekend? I did. “Mortgage Auditing Program, Division of Consumer Services” says we may be owed a refund of several thousand dollars. Hmm.
• The first thing to do when you get mail like this is to discover who sent it. Running the phone number (888-251-6057) through www.800notes.com told me it was AMT Auditing in South Jordan, Utah. I then found the F-rated company on www.bbb.org. It said for $249 they “perform a review of the payments you have made to your mortgage lender. Consumers are also asked to sign up for a trial subscription of the business’s debt cancellation program. The business asks that consumers agree that after 30 days, a monthly subscription fee of $49.95 will be charged.”
• BBB complaints allege that people don’t remember signing up for debt cancellation, that timely refunds aren’t sent, and that customer service in resolving issues is slow. According to the Federal Trade Commission, forensic mortgage auditing (marketed as saving consumers from foreclosure) is a scam. The letter from ATM specifically states that this is “NOT an offer to prevent or rescue you from foreclosure nor is this a forensic mortgage audit offer.” That’s good, because the FTC says: “There is no evidence that forensic loan audits will help you get a loan modification or any other foreclosure relief, even if they’re conducted by a licensed, legitimate and trained professional.”
• Even if you sue your lender over loan document errors and win, they’re not required to modify your loan to make your payments more affordable.
• If you cancel your loan, you’ll have to return the borrowed money, which could cause you to lose your home.
• It is a red flag if a company collects an upfront fee before providing any services or accepts payment only by wire transfer.
But ATM Auditing still has an F rating from the BBB.
• More info or report scams: Visit the BBB at www.bbb.org. Call (509) 455-4200 or (800) 356-1007. Or sign up to receive our Scam Alerts at www.bbb.org/scam. And for free advice from housing counseling agencies certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, call 1 (888) 995-HOPE.
Holly Doering, BBB editor