Does the U.S. government have an "American Homeowner Relief Program" that gives thousands of dollars to homeowners as part of the federal government's COVID-19 stimulus legislation? No, that's not true: No federal stimulus program by that name exists and there are no such stimulus payments available specifically to U.S. homeowners, according to a mortgage expert. The claim - made in a series of advertisements - use the fake claim to lure social media users to share personal financial information that can then be sold as leads to loan marketers. While COVID-19 relief has included mortage payment "forbearance" for federally-backed loans, it does not include payments to the homeowners.
The claim appeared in a sponsored post (archived here) on Facebook by "Ads from Go America" on May 7, 2021 under the title "Homeowners with no recent missed payments could get $3,708 back as early as this month. " It opened:
Eligibility Requirements Include:
1. No recent missed payments
2. Lived at address for at least 9 months
3. Primary residence only
Homeowners can now check eligibility before the deadline.
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Sun May 16 16:55:38 2021 UTC)
If you click on the ad, it takes you to a webpage that reads:
Special "American Homeowner Relief" Program Gives $3,708 Back To Homeowners This May
Homeowners who have not signed up for the Homeowner Relief Stimulus Program are urged to do so before deadlines are announced. Congress recently launched a new mortgage Relief Program, which gives up-to $3,708 a year back to homeowners that have not recently missed a mortgage payment. As hoped, Americans are using their new found savings to further stimulate the economy by spending on things like home improvements, paying off credit cards, saving for college, and other expenses. Keep in mind, like stimulus relief checks, there are no limitations on how the funds are used.
This page then invites you to click on a link titled "Click Here To Check Your Eligibility," which takes you here:
Note that the $3,627 check is signed by the "United States Homeowner Association." Lead Stories could find no such organization.
Anyone who wants to get more information about how to get one of those mortgage relief checks will not find it on this page. Instead, they are asked AGAIN to click to "Check My Availability" button and go to yet another webpage titled FedRateCutter. Visitors are asked a series of questions about if they are looking to buy a home, what kind of home they want, and what is their credit score.
There is nothing on that page describing an "American Homeowner Relief Program" that would send a $3,708 check to homeowners.
In a May 17, 2021 phone call, Mortgage Bankers Association spokesman Andrew DeSanctis reviewed the pages for Lead Stories and said "There is no such plan."
The recent $1.9 trillion federal stimulus plan does include a homeowners assistance fund totalling $10 billion of relief based on a homeowners unemployment status. It does not provide a check. The CARES Act simply offers a temporary suspension -- or forebearance -- of payments on federally-backed mortgages. Homeowners would still have to make their payments later.