Do you own a home with a mortgage? Then keep your eyes peeled for a letter in the mail offering Cincinnati area homeowners a "mortgage audit."
It claims it could get you a significant refund from what you have been paying your lender.
Another letter says you need to buy a copy of the deed to your home.
But what is an audit, and is it real?
From Refi Offers to Audits
A few years ago, refinancing offers were flooding homeowners mailboxes. Then came offers of loan modification. The newest trend: mortgage "audits."
Jeff Stevens recently received a letter from the "Mortgage Auditing Program, a division of A.M.T."
Jeff told me "it said I may be eligible for a refund from my mortgage lender of several thousand dollars. It sounded great."
Jeff couldn't believe how much money the letter claimed he might be eligible for. "It says the average refund is around $1,500 and could be between $3,000 and $7,000"
But before calling, he decided to Google the "Mortgage Auditing Program," and found nothing. He said "I looked on the internet, and I couldn't really find anything on the people it was from, so then I contacted you to see if it was legit or not."
Who is behind letter
After digging, we found that the letter is from a small Utah company called AMT Auditing.
their website listing the cost of an mortgage audit at $249, something not stated in the letter.
The Better Business Bureau has no complaints on file. But the EBB says it is a new company, in business for less than a year, and states that one lender, Wells Fargo, has demanded that AMT stop using its logo in advertising and on its website.
Is an audit a good idea?
Meantime, the National Consumer Law Center calls mortgage audits a "waste of money in most cases."
The group says if a 3rd party mortgage audit finds a error, most banks will not change your loan based on its findings. It says you still have to hire a lawyer, in most cases, and may have to go to court to get a refund.
Jeff's going to pass, saying "I don't remember anything that sounded shaky when I signed the paperwork, so I kinda doubt there is really anything wrong with my mortgage."
These letters are not illegal, nor is the offer a scam.
You do not need a copy of your deed either.
But before responding to any offer in the mail to check your mortgage, lower your interest rates, or anything dealing with your personal finances, do some research on the company, and make sure you know what it will cost you. You may also want to ask your lender about it.
If you have concerns, then it may be a case of don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.