Valley couple in a home modification mess

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A Valley couple says they were hopeful their mortgage was being modified but in the end, they say they were scammed.

"I love this place, I love my home."

Maria and Jorge Echeverria love their Phoenix home, but they don't love what their monthly mortgage rate has ballooned to.

"Last year, the rate goes up very high and we cannot really afford to pay that much so we tried to look for somebody to modify our home," Maria said.

That's when they say they came across a man named Humberto Jimenez. He reportedly was modifying a mortgage for one of the Echeverria's friends so they thought he could help them,  too.

"The following day the guys came and asked for money," Maria said.

Maria says Humberto didn't have a business card indicating he was in the modification business. Just paperwork indicating he ran a carpet cleaning business called HJ Carpet Cleaning, also known as HSJ Carpet Cleaning.

Despite any red flags that may have been raised Maria says she and her husband still handed over thousands of dollars to Jimenez in a combination of cash, checks and money orders totaling about $7,000 to $8,000 according to Maria.

Maria and Jorge say, looking back they can't believe they handed over nearly $8,000 but they say they were simply desperate for help, and Jimenez the carpet cleaner, was so convincing.

After taking all that money, they say Jimenez vanished.

"I tried to call him and he's gone, he didn’t answer the phone," Jorge said.

"Can I slap his face if I can see this guy?" asked Maria.

3 On Your Side wanted to talk to Humberto Jimenez, to find out exactly what was going on. His so-called business has several different addresses, but every time we went to one of those addresses, it came back to a UPS store, where Humberto Jimenez would simply pick up his mail.

3 On Your Side tried numerous times calling Jimenez. We even sent him a Facebook message, and not only did he not reply, he immediately took down his Facebook page.

As for Maria and Jorge, they say they are now going through a short sale. If they can't unload their home, they'll face foreclosure.

Maria says she’s learned a valuable lesson.

"Don't trust anybody and make sure when you deal with somebody, it should be legal."

This is a reminder that if you are looking to modify or refinance your home you have to deal directly with your lender.

For more information, visit HOPENOW.com or LoanScamAlert.org or call 1-888-995-HOPE.