Freelance musician Joe Mosello wanted to get a lower mortgage rate, but
he says because his income is unpredictable and he co-signed his children's
college loans, everywhere he turned he was told he was a poor credit risk.
Then he got a mailing from a company in California.

Joe Mosello
"They said that they could help us, and after hitting a brick wall with all
these other banks and online things, we jumped at it."

Joe says the company promised to get him a lower mortgage rate but asked
for 35-hundred dollars up front.


Tobie Stanger
Consumer Reports

"In most cases it is illegal for a company to charge you anything before they
have offered you a loan deal in writing and you have accepted it."

The Federal Trade Commission is investigating deceptive mortgage ads and
has created fake ones based on real come-ons in order to warn consumers.
Some red flags -promises like "guaranteed approval" or "low fixed rates"
with no details. Or ads that look like they're from a government agency.

Tobie Stanger
"The FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have pored
through hundreds of ads, and recently they warned about 30 companies that
they may be breaking the law."


Consumer Reports says the best way to get a good loan from legitimate
lenders - buff up your credit score by clearing up black marks and errors
with the three credit bureaus, Transunion, Experian, and Equifax.
And pay off as much debt as you can.

It's also worth checking the Federal website MakingHomeAffordable.gov.
For people like Joe, it may offer some good options. ."