via Mandelman Matters-
Sit down and relax… you’re going to need a comfortable chair. But, I promise you… it’ll be worth it.
In the fall of 2008, news stories about “scammers” taking advantage of homeowners at risk of foreclosure started appearing frequently in the media. I remember watching a prime-time national news magazine type program, I think it was 20/20, that was airing a story that featured a sleazy looking middle-age man in Denver, hurriedly walking from a small, strip mall store front to his car, his hand covering his face, as a reporter tried to ask him questions that he obviously did not plan to answer.
The story involved a company that had charged a handful of homeowners several thousand dollars up front to help them negotiate with their banks to get their mortgages modified. The core issue being raised by the show’s host was that the homeowners had been victims of a scam because, as a couple of the homeowners interviewed were saying, their loans had not yet been modified.
I remember wondering, to begin with, how in the world such a story had become the subject of a national news magazine television program. I mean, “Three homeowners get ripped off by small business in Denver,” is not usually the sort of event that makes national headlines. The implication being made was that this case was emblematic of a more widespread problem, but nothing further was offered in the way of proof… no statistics, no additional facts… just statements about how homeowners should NEVER pay anyone up front to help them negotiate with their bank over a loan modification because they were “scammers.”