Mortgage Scams On The Rise – If It’s Too Good To Be True, It Is


The Office of Security and Law Enforcement passes on the following from the National White Collar crime Center in regards to a new mortgage rescue fraud:

You’re having trouble paying your mortgage bill. The possibility of foreclosure is weighing heavily on your mind. Sitting at your computer, you think all hope is lost until you come across an email that reads: “Get the professional help you need to keep your home and have peace of mind. What if I told you that we have plenty of lenders who can lower your rate so drastically that when all is said and done, you wind up paying only 1/3 of what you’re used to paying!” What do you do? Some individuals see this as the perfect opportunity to solve all of their problems. Instead, they fall victim to mortgage rescue scams.

Mortgage modification and rescue scams are still on the rise. Typically, these scams take place via emails and phone calls. They all promise the same thing: modifying mortgage rates, rescue from foreclosure, help in stopping bankruptcy or just help getting your home sold.

Scammers claim they can do wonders for any mortgage problem but, of course, they charge a fee up front. They say they will talk to lenders for you as well. But once the fee is paid, everything changes. Some scammers have victims sign what they think are new loan papers. Instead, they are documents that sign over the ownership of the property. Others have you simply surrender your home in order to help sell it faster. Most, though, are simply after the money.

As with most scams, there are dire consequences associated with falling for any type of mortgage scheme. Victims will be asked to give personal and tax information which provides scammers with the ammunition they need to commit identity theft. If the scammers do talk to lenders, they will most likely misrepresent the victim, causing more harm than good. Some victims will be led to believe that everything is going smoothly until they start receiving default notices in the mail for missing their required monthly payments. Communication stops and scammers suddenly become inaccessible. Last but not least, victims will ask scammers for refunds but all they’ll get is the run-around.

According to data pulled from the Internet Complaint Search and Investigation System (ICSIS), there were 241 mortgage-related complaints from January 1, 2009 to February 26, 2010. Of those 241 complaints, 114 involved actual monetary losses. A closer examination of those complaints showed one case that generated 18 complaints and losses totaling $93,075. Another one triggered 21 complaints and losses totaling nearly $58,000. Further investigation could reveal an even greater number of complaints and much higher monetary losses.

For information on avoiding scams, go to and click on Internet Crime Prevention Tips or Internet Crime Schemes.


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