The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has received tips from consumers regarding advertisements for loan modification services. DFI’s investigation has connected these advertisements to a company in California called First American Home Saver, with a toll-free number of 877-473-4855, and an address of P.O. Box 235 in Lincoln, California.
The California Department of Real Estate, which licenses loan modification service providers, issued a Desist and Refrain order against First American Home Saver and its apparent control persons, Mike Leal, and Darrol Martin, in January, 2011 for unlicensed activity.
DFI’s investigation showed that neither of these two individuals, nor First American Home Saver itself, have ever been licensed with DFI in any capacity. First American Home Saver is not registered with the Washington State Secretary of State or with the Department of Revenue. According to the Better Business Bureau, this company is now defunct, and the phone numbers associated with the company are disconnected.
Loan Modification Services - Upfront Fees
Washington State law requires all individuals and companies providing third-party loan modification services to Washington residents be licensed by DFI. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission’s Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule prohibits entities from requiring upfront fees prior to performing loan modification services.
DFI strongly recommends that consumers deal only with those lenders that are properly licensed to conduct business. Consumers can determine whether lenders are properly licensed using the “Verify a License” feature on DFI's website at www.dfi.wa.gov.
If you feel you are in immediate danger contact local law enforcement.
If you are suspicious of unlicensed activity by a mortgage broker or loan originator please contact DFI at 1-877-RING-DFI (746-4334), or online at www.dfi.wa.gov.
If you feel you have been the victim of a loan scam please contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357), or online at www.ftc.gov.
If you feel you have been the victim of a loan scam involving the Internet please contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center online at www.ic3.gov.
If you feel you have been the victim of a loan scam and are concerned about your personal financial information, contact your banking institution, and the three major credit bureaus.