A new public education campaign is helping homeowners find legitimate foreclosure assistance and avoid loan modification scams.

At a time when many Americans are considering new resolutions and life changes, staying financially vigilant should remain a priority—especially for homeowners. During 2010, an estimated 4 million households are expected to face the risk of foreclosure. Millions of homeowners will try to reduce their mortgage payments with a loan modification.

The national Loan Modification Scam Alert campaign has put together 10 tips to help homeowners seeking foreclosure prevention assistance this year:

Contact your lender first as soon as you get concerned about paying your mortgage.
Determine your options by speaking to your lender’s loss mitigation department.
Be patient but persistent with your lender, because getting a loan modification takes time.
Call the Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline at 1-888-995-HOPE. Trained counselors are available 24 hours a day to provide assistance in multiple languages.
Connect with a local HUD-approved counseling agency for free by calling 1-888-995-HOPE or visiting www.LoanScamAlert.org.
Beware of loan modification scams. Some companies and individuals are out to take advantage of homeowners seeking loan modifications.
Avoid anyone who asks for a fee prior to providing any loan modification service, including companies, individuals and even some lawyers.
Avoid anyone who guarantees to get your loan modified or stop a foreclosure, because nobody has the power to make this promise.
Avoid companies that tell you to stop paying your mortgage and to pay them instead. This is a sure sign of a scam.
Report loan modification or foreclosure scams at any time by visiting www.LoanScamAlert.org or calling 1-888-995-HOPE (4673).

Loan modification scams are proliferating at a rapid pace—costing unsuspecting homeowners thousands of dollars and often their homes. To help combat this issue, Congress asked NeighborWorks America® to launch a national public education campaign in 2009. Today, the Loan Modification Scam Alert campaign empowers homeowners to protect themselves against loan modification scams, find trusted help and report illegal activity to authorities. For more information about the campaign, visit www.LoanScamAlert.org.