According to industry studies, as many as 8 million American homeowners are expected to face foreclosure through 2012. Making matters worse is that scam artists see this crisis as a prime opportunity to make money off of people in danger of losing their homes.
These so-called mortgage “rescue” companies use simple messages in print, broadcast and online ads to hook in homeowners facing foreclosure or other financial difficulty. Or they may contact homeowners directly, offering help for a fee.
Scammers may imply they are associated with NeighborWorks, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), HOPE NOW and other reputable organizations to gain a homeowner’s trust, personal information and money.
NeighborWorks America urges homeowners who need help to beware of foreclosure rescue scams and offers the following tips to avoid them:
If you suspect a scammer has approached you or victimized you, contact your local Better Business Bureau or state attorney general’s office. In addition to reporting a scam locally, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).