Foreclosure Prevention Resources
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Avoid Foreclosure & Mortgage Scams

Since 2010, Oregonians have lost nearly half a million dollars to illegal companies offering “foreclosure help.” It is important to understand that a legitimate company will never make promises about being able to modify your loan or save your home – only your lender can agree to amend or change the terms of your loan. Before you do business with anyone, talk to a State-approved housing counselor – this service is free, trustworthy and available statewide.

How To Spot A Scam

Unscrupulous companies prey on vulnerable homeowners by obtaining lists of homeowners who are behind on their house payments. They often target seniors or homeowners with limited English-speaking ability. These companies may contact you by phone, letter or email, offering to negotiate with your lender on your behalf. They may claim to be a licensed attorney or someone working with a licensed attorney. Some advertise on radio, TV and the Internet – and may present themselves as an “official agency” by creating websites or toll-free numbers that appear legitimate.

You should be suspicious of any company or person that:

  • Guarantees results
  • Tries to collect fees before providing services and without providing you with a contract
  • Asks for personal financial information like your bank account and Social Security numbers
  • Tells you not to make payments to your lender, but directly to them
  • Discourages you from contacting your lender or a nonprofit counselor

REMEMBER: Just because a company “looks official” doesn’t mean it is! The State can tell you if a person or company can legally do business in Oregon.

Call 503-378-4140 or 866-814-9710 (toll-free)
if you have any questions or concerns!

Protect Yourself and Others

Cash For Keys

The more you know about the foreclosure process, the less likely you are to be victimized by a scammer. Talk to a State-approved housing counselor first to understand your options – this service is provided free, statewide. Then, follow these common-sense precautions:

  • Never pay money up front to a company
  • Do not make a mortgage payment to anyone other than your lender
  • Realize that if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is

Oregon law prohibits debt management service providers from taking money up front, and any legitimate provider must be registered with the state. Ads that promise to help you out of debt or modify your mortgage loan must include a registration number. Report any ads that don’t have a registration number at 1-866-814-9710 or e-mail dcbs.dfcsmail@state.or.us.

If you have been victimized, you can file a complaint with the Oregon Division of Finance and Corporate Securities, part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services. (Click to access the online complaint form in English or Spanish) The division attempts to get consumers’ money refunded, although it’s not always possible. However, enforcement orders and fines against illegal companies will help shut them down in Oregon, and protect other at-risk homeowners.

For more information, visit www.oregon.gov/DCBS/foreclosurehelp or call 866-814-9710.

Division of Finance and Corporate Securities (DFCS)

The DFCS is part of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest consumer protection and business regulatory agency. DFCS regulates a number of Oregon financial institutions and services, including debt management service providers. Debt management service providers include people who promise to help with home loan modifications and other foreclosure avoidance services. In Oregon, those who provide these services must be registered with DFCS unless they are covered by one of the few exceptions such as government-approved nonprofit organizations, Oregon-licensed loan originators and Oregon licensed attorneys under very narrowly defined circumstances.

Unregistered companies cause the problems. For example, none of the companies DFCS has taken action against since 2010 were registered. DFCS' role is to deter mortgage loan scams by educating consumers to call it before they seek help lowering a home loan payment or averting a foreclosure. DFCS can let them know if a person or business is operating legally in this state. At the same time, DFCS staff lets them know they may also talk with a nonprofit counselor or contact their lender directly. People who are victims of scams may also file complaints with DFCS.

For more information, visit www.oregon.gov/DCBS/foreclosurehelp or call 866-814-9710.

Stop Unlicensed Payday Loans

The State of Oregon’s Division of Finance & Corporate Securities has developed a website called www.StopUnlicensedLoans.com to help Oregonians learn about and avoid unlicensed payday lenders. The website features information about:

  • Spotting an illegal payday lender
  • Finding licensed payday lenders
  • How to file a payday lender complaint
  • Finding other ways to borrow
  • Victim’s stories

In addition to the website consumers can call DFCS toll-free at 866-814-9710 or contact them by e-mail at dcbs.dfcsmail@state.or.us.

Addressing Complaints

DFCS has a variety of options that it uses to enforce Oregon law. The most common are orders to stop doing business and fines. DFCS can fine companies up to $5,000 per violation of laws that cover debt management service providers or mortgage lenders. DFCS attempts to get consumers their money back but cannot guarantee results. Many violators are out of state companies or individuals that dissapear once DFCS begins to investigate. Still, DFCS recovers money for some consumers and investigating complaints helps shut down illegal businesses and warns consumers about scams.

For more information, visit www.oregon.gov/DCBS/foreclosurehelp or call 866-814-9710.