We’re grateful to these agencies for their help in creating many of the resources available in this online toolkit. Please visit their websites for additional information.
AmeriCorps/Equal Justice Works Foreclosure Fellows Program
The State of Illinois invested in foreclosure prevention solutions that will produce effective and sustainable practices for the future and serve as an innovative model for other states to replicate. Lawyers are instrumental in negotiating new financing terms, defending against predatory practices and holding the lenders to the process required under law. Success of the foreclosure settlement agreement depends on the assistance of lawyers who are committed to helping people keep their homes. Bringing in a network of talented lawyers to assist victims of the foreclosure crisis is critical to preventing mortgage abuses in the future.
Equal Justice Works Foreclosure Fellows in Illinois has joined this network and collaborates with network members to develop effective practices, share lessons learned and advance policy reforms that will help meet the goals of the foreclosure settlement agreement nationwide.
The Illinois Foreclosure Fellowships are three year fellowships. Fellows receive training and mentorship in being legal service leaders through the annual Equal Justice Works Leadership Development Training and the National Consumer Law Center Conference. At the Leadership Development Training, Illinois Foreclosure Fellows will train alongside more than 130 Equal Justice Works Fellows working on a variety of social change projects, including foreclosure prevention and consumer protection across the United States.
For more information about other Equal Justice Works Fellowship programs, please visit the AmeriCorps Legal Fellows and Equal Justice Works Fellowships pages.
For a listing of the 2012 Illinois Foreclosure Fellows' projects, visit our Fellow profiles. For more information please contact Kathryn Gravely, Program Manager, at [email protected], 202.466.3686 ext. 125.
Better Business Bureau
BBB’s mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. BBB accomplishes this mission by
- Creating a community of trustworthy businesses
- Setting standards for marketplace trust
- Encouraging and supporting best practices
- Celebrating marketplace role models, and;
- Denouncing substandard marketplace behavior
BBB ensures that high standards for trust are set and maintained. We exist so consumers and businesses alike have an unbiased source to guide them on matters of trust. We provide educational information and expert advice that is free of charge and easily accessible.
BBB Accreditation is an honor – and not every business is eligible. Businesses that meet our high standards are invited to seek BBB accreditation. Businesses deemed to meet Accreditation Standards are presented to the BBB's Board (or designees) for review and acceptance as a BBB Accredited Business.
BBB does not compare businesses against each other but rather evaluates businesses against our standards – and our standards clearly speak to the character and competence of an organization.
BBB is the resource to turn to for objective, unbiased information on businesses. Our network of BBBs allows us to monitor and take action on thousands of business issues affecting consumers at any given time.
Center for Responsible Lending
The Center for Responsible Lending is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that works to protect homeownership and family wealth by fighting predatory lending practices. Our focus is on consumer lending: primarily mortgages, payday loans, credit cards, bank overdrafts and auto loans.
Since we began in 2002, we have witnessed, studied, and fought against outrageous lending abuses that strip billions of dollars from American families.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Our mission is to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans — whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products.
We work to give consumers the information they need to understand the terms of their agreements with financial companies. We are working to make regulations and guidance as clear and streamlined as possible so providers of consumer financial products and services can follow the rules on their own.
Congress established the CFPB to protect consumers by carrying out federal consumer financial laws. Among other things, we:
- Write rules, supervise companies, and enforce federal consumer financial protection laws
- Restrict unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices
- Take consumer complaints
- Promote financial education
- Research consumer behavior
- Monitor financial markets for new risks to consumers
- Enforce laws that outlaw discrimination and other unfair treatment in consumer finance
Federal Bureau of Investigation
From foreclosure frauds to subprime shenanigans, mortgage fraud is a growing crime threat that is hurting homeowners, businesses, and the national economy. We have developed new ways to detect and combat mortgage fraud, including collecting and analyzing data to spot emerging trends and patterns. And we are using the full array of investigative techniques to find and stop criminals before the fact, rather than after the damage has been done.
Federal Trade Commission: Complaint Assistant
The FTC protects consumers by stopping unfair, deceptive or fraudulent practices in the marketplace. We conduct investigations, sue companies and people that violate the law, develop rules to ensure a vibrant marketplace, and educate consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities. We collect complaints about hundreds of issues from data security and deceptive advertising to identity theft and Do Not Call violations, and make them available to law enforcement agencies worldwide for follow-up. Our experienced and motivated staff uses 21st century tools to anticipate – and respond to – changes in the marketplace.
Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force
President Obama established the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force in November 2009 to hold accountable those who helped bring about the last financial crisis as well as those who would attempt to take advantage of the efforts at economic recovery.
The task force is improving efforts across the government and with state and local partners to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, recover proceeds for victims and address financial discrimination in the lending and financial markets.
With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 US Attorneys Offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. The Task Force has established Financial Fraud Coordinators in every US Attorney’s Office around the country to help make these broad mandates a reality on the ground.
FINRA Investor Education Foundation
The FINRA Investor Education Foundation's investor protection campaign seeks to protect investors from investment fraud by helping to equip them to:
- Recognize that they are vulnerable to financial fraud
- Identify persuasion techniques; and
- Reduce risky behaviors by asking questions and checking information
The FINRA Investor Education Foundation supports innovative research and educational projects that give investors the tools they need to better understand the markets and the basic principles of saving and investing. To date, the Foundation has approved approximately $64 million in grants and direct financial education and protection initiatives. For details about grant programs and other FINRA Foundation initiatives, visit www.finrafoundation.org.
Home Free USA
Since 1995, we have been helping families achieve the dream of homeownership.
HomeFree-USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit organization that specializes in homeownership development, foreclosure intervention and financial empowerment. Our mission is to move people up the financial ladder of success, to elevate and develop them for economic self-sufficiency through homeownership.
As a HUD-approved Intermediary, HomeFree-USA delivers services across the country through its nationwide network of faith and community-based nonprofit partners. The HomeFree-USA network represents the interests of 4 million homeowners and homebuyers.
The HomeFree-USA program model is comprehensive and based on a continuum of services that begin with assessing where the client is via a review of their credit report, debt and savings. It continues with the assignment of a personal Homeownership Coach and the development of an Achievement Plan that guides the client through savings and credit enhancement, debt reduction and homeownership pre-purchase preparation, foreclosure intervention and financial education and skill development. Our signature programs have been the catalyst for the homeownership success of thousands of homeowners. Each year we reach millions of homebuyers and homeowners with our marketing and outreach initiatives and programs.
HomeFree-USA enjoys a remarkable 0% foreclosure rate among homeowners we have prepared for homeownership.
Home Loan Learning Center
HomeLoanLearningCenter.com provides step-by-step information on how to become financially literate. Armed with the facts, your next move could be into your own home. Learn about credit reports and scores; the true cost of owning a home; and how to compare the costs of owning versus renting a home. The site provides in-depth, easy-to-read home loan product information, including information on how to qualify for a loan, what the documents mean and what's in a mortgage payment, along with mortgage calculators to help you plan your payments.
Home Loan Learning Center, powered by the Mortgage Bankers Association, is committed to empowering you to make informed financial decisions through access to financial education. We encourage consumers visiting this site to continue their financial education by taking advantage of the comprehensive links to reach state, federal, non-profit and consumer group web sites.
Home Ownership Preservation Foundation
The Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) is a nonprofit group that helps financially challenged homeowners navigate their budget problems and, whenever possible, help them to avoid mortgage foreclosure – and we do it free of charge.
Since 2007, HPF has served more than five million homeowners, an average of 5,500 people each day, who depend on us as a trusted, neutral source of information and assistance. Although we are an independent organization, we are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury, as well as others on the frontlines of the country’s housing crisis, including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and NeighborWorks America, among others.
Our mission is to guide consumers onto the path of sustainable homeownership and develop innovative solutions to preserve and expand their financial health. We provide free, confidential and comprehensive financial and foreclosure prevention education through our national Homeowner’s HOPE™ Hotline –888-995-HOPE™ — which is staffed and ready to assist homeowners every day around the clock. We offer our advisory services in more than 170 languages.
HOPE NOW Alliance Counseling Organizations
HOPE NOW is an alliance between counselors, mortgage companies, investors, and other mortgage market participants. This alliance will maximize outreach efforts to homeowners in distress to help them stay in their homes and will create a unified, coordinated plan to reach and help as many homeowners as possible. The members of this alliance recognize that by working together, they will be more effective than by working independently.
Housing and Urban Development Office of Housing Counseling
HUD sponsors housing counseling agencies throughout the country that can provide advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues. This page allows you to select a list of agencies for each state below. You may search more specifically for a reverse mortgage counselor or if you are facing foreclosure, search for a foreclosure avoidance counselor.
Housing and Urban Development Office of the Inspector General
As the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), we remain an independent and objective organization, conducting and supervising audits, evaluations, and investigations relating to the Department’s programs and operations. We promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in these programs and operations as we also prevent and detect fraud, abuse, and mismanagement. We are committed to keeping the HUD Secretary, Congress, and our stakeholders fully and currently informed about problems and deficiencies and the necessity for and progress of corrective action.
Loan Modification Scam Alert
Loan modification scams are proliferating at a rapid pace. Every day, scam artists prey on unsuspecting homeowners who are facing foreclosure. These homeowners are losing thousands of dollars and their homes—lured by the promise of loan modification help.
To combat this issue, Congress asked NeighborWorks America® to launch a national public education campaign. The campaign empowers homeowners to protect themselves against loan modification scams, find trusted help and report illegal activity to authorities.
NeighborWorks America® is working with national, state and local partners on the ground and 235 community-based affiliates. Together, we will alert thousands of homeowners in hundreds of at-risk communities through real-life scam stories, fliers, postcards, e-cards, posters, print advertising, local PSAs, events, word of mouth and social media activity.
Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network
The Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network (LMSPN or Network) was created to strengthen the fight against these scammers and support existing efforts at the national, state and local levels. The lead organizations of the effort include Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers' Committee), Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) and NeighborWorks America, among others, with representatives from key governmental agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Treasury Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and state Attorneys General offices, as well as leading non-profit organizations from across the country.
Since 2007, over 11 million people have trusted LoanSafe.org for help with their loans. We are the #1 safe and free loan website for consumers and to date we have assisted thousands of people online for free of charge with absolutely no strings attached.
LoanSafe is not a lender, bank or mortgage company and we are a not for profit forum for consumers. Therefore you can trust our website, advice and recommendations are the absolute best that you can find anywhere on the internet today. Whether you need a new loan, fix an existing mortgage issue or you need assistance with your financial questions, we can help.
Making Home Affordable from the Departments of Treasury and Housing and Urban Development
The Making Home Affordable Program (MHA) ® is a critical part of the Obama Administration's broad strategy to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, stabilize the country's housing market, and improve the nation's economy.
Maybe your expenses have increased due to medical bills or you're picking up the pieces after a separation or divorce. Maybe you're trying to get by with less because your hours were cut or your business stumbled. In any case, it's important to be proactive. MHA ® can help you get real help and real answers right now.
Mortgage Bankers Association
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is the national association representing the entire real estate finance industry. We are the most influential voice for real estate finance, leading the charge to create a sustainable and vibrant future for all industry participants. We marshal balanced policy perspectives to ensure transparent, efficient markets that provide broad access to diverse capital sources and bring material benefits to borrowers and communities. We partner with industry leaders and stakeholders with different perspectives to develop innovative solutions to critical industry challenges, and enable members to prosper through impactful education, research, information and events.
National Association of Realtors
The National Association of REALTORS®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members, including NAR’s institutes, societies and councils, involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
Our membership is composed of residential and commercial REALTORS®, who are brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors and others engaged in all aspects of the real estate industry. Members belong to one or more of some 1,400 local associations/boards and 54 state and territory associations of REALTORS®. They are pledged to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
Working for America's property owners, the National Association provides a facility for professional development, research and exchange of information among its members and to the public and government for the purpose of preserving the free enterprise system and the right to own real property.
National Center for Victims of Crime
The National Center for Victims of Crime is a nonprofit organization that advocates for victims' rights, trains professionals who work with victims, and serves as a trusted source of information on victims' issues. After more than 25 years, we remain the most comprehensive national resource committed to advancing victims' rights and helping victims of crime rebuild their lives.
The National Center is, at its core, an advocacy organization committed to -- and working on behalf of -- crime victims and their families. Rather than focus the entire organization's work on one type of crime or victim, the National Center addresses all types of crime.
NCVC has launched a new Financial Crime Resource Center. The mission of the Financial Crime Resource Center is to help victims of financial crime recover their assets, and recover control of their lives. We partner with organizations around the United States who work with victims of fraud, identity theft and other financial crimes to ensure that victims have access to the best possible services and advice to assist them with recovery. We also advocate for fair compensation and restitution for all crime victims who have experienced harms caused by both financial and non-financial crimes.
National Consumers League
Fraud.org is a project of the National Consumers League (NCL), a nonprofit advocacy organization based in Washington, DC, was founded in 1899 to promote the interests of consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. Over its 113-year history, NCL staff have dedicated themselves to this mission through investigation, public interest advocacy and consumer education.
In 1992, in response to the growth in telemarketing and Internet fraud, NCL launched the National Fraud Information Center. The mission of the NFIC (later renamed the Fraud Center) was to give consumers the information they need to avoid becoming victims of telemarketing and Internet fraud. In February 2013, the Fraud Center was rebranded and relaunched as Fraud.org.
Fraud.org is the product of more than two decades of consumer education and advocacy related to Internet and telemarketing fraud prevention. More than 100,000 unique visitors come to Fraud.org every month. Thousands of consumer complaints are collected by the Fraud.org and shared with our network of more than 90 law enforcement partners. Through our anti-fraud advocacy, consumer education efforts and direct consumer counseling support, NCL’s Fraud Center and Fraud.org have helped millions of consumers protect themselves and loved ones against malicious scams.
National Crime Victim Law Institute
NCVLI is a national nonprofit legal education and advocacy organization whose mission is to actively promote balance and fairness in the justice system through crime victim centered legal advocacy, education, and resource sharing.
National Fair Housing Alliance
Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Washington DC, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) is the only national organization dedicated solely to ending discrimination in housing. NFHA works to eliminate housing discrimination and to ensure equal housing opportunity for all people through leadership, education and outreach, membership services, public policy initiatives, advocacy and enforcement.
Today NFHA is a consortium of more than 220 private, non-profit fair housing organizations, state and local civil rights agencies, and individuals from throughout the United States. NFHA recognizes the importance of "home" as a component to the American Dream and hopes to aid in the creation of diverse, barrier free communities across the nation.
National Housing Resource Center
The National Housing Resource Center (NHRC) is an advocate for the nonprofit housing counseling community, as well as for housing consumers, for communities of color, for the elderly, and for underserved populations.
Housing counselors are on the front lines of the American housing crisis, facing the flood of foreclosures, the difficulties home buyers experience in qualifying for affordable mortgage credit, the housing challenges facing communities of color, the needs of ex-homeowners entering the rental market, and the many scam artists working the housing field.
NHRC is mobilizing housing counseling agencies, networks, and Intermediaries into one united voice. There is a need to tap into counselors’ experience, elevate their issues and voices, and unite them into a national advocacy program. The nonprofit housing counseling industry is an important part of the housing market and, when properly mobilized, can help address the deep inequalities in mortgage, foreclosure, and rental situations.
National Mortgage Settlement
In February 2012, 49 state attorneys general and the federal government announced a historic joint state-federal settlement with the country’s five largest mortgage servicers:
- Bank of America
- JPMorgan Chase
- Wells Fargo
This bipartisan settlement will provide as much as $25 billion in:
- Relief to distressed borrowers in the states who signed on to the settlement; and
- Direct payments to signing states and the federal government.
It’s the largest consumer financial protection settlement in US history.
The agreement settles state and federal investigations finding that the country’s five largest mortgage servicers routinely signed foreclosure related documents outside the presence of a notary public and without really knowing whether the facts they contained were correct. Both of these practices violate the law.
The settlement provides benefits to borrowers in the signing states whose loans are owned by the settling banks as well as to many of the borrowers whose loans they service. Borrowers from Oklahoma will not be eligible for any of the relief directly to homeowners because Oklahoma elected not to join the settlement.
NeighborWorks America is one of the country’s preeminent leaders in affordable housing and community development. We work to create opportunities for lower-income people to live in affordable homes in safe, sustainable neighborhoods that are healthy places for families to grow. Headquartered in Washington, DC, NeighborWorks America operates through seven regional offices and one national office.
Office for Victims of Crime
Established in 1988 through an amendment to the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) of 1984, OVC is charged by Congress with administering the Crime Victims Fund (the Fund). Through OVC, the Fund supports a broad array of programs and services that focus on helping victims in the immediate aftermath of crime and continuing to support them as they rebuild their lives. Millions of dollars are invested annually in victim compensation and assistance in every U.S. state and territory, as well as for training, technical assistance, and other capacity-building programs designed to enhance service providers’ ability to support victims of crime in communities across the Nation.
OnGuardOnline.gov is the federal government’s website to help you be safe, secure and responsible online.
The Federal Trade Commission manages OnGuardOnline.gov, in partnership with the federal agencies listed below. OnGuardOnline.gov is a partner in the Stop Think Connect campaign, led by the Department of Homeland Security, and part of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
This project is supported by Grant 2011-VF-GX-K021, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime,Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this document are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.