There's a familiar saying that goes something like this: If it sounds too good to be true, then it is too good to be true. Said another way, if it's too good to be true, it must be a scam.
Scams come in various forms. There are the solicitations promising to reduce your property taxes - if you pay a fee in advance - that arrive in envelopes that have that green, government-issued look to them.
Or the man that knocks on your door and promises to fix your car's fender at one-tenth the price that an auto body shop might charge you.
Then there are the promises lenders make as they convince that they can reduce your monthly mortgage payments and the interest rate on your loan, provided you pay their fees in advance. That might be the most sinister proposal of all.
These days, the Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on lenders taking advantage of homeowners in distressed situations. The FTC has taken action against six mortgage relief companies, sought orders stopping their illegal practices and freezing their assets pending litigation.