The Ongoing Prevalence of Mortgage Scams

Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Fall is typically a time when there is a surge of mortgage scams as Americans increasingly focus on getting their financial affairs in order before the end of the year. A newly issued report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) underscores that homeowners need to be especially careful. Foreclosure scams remain at record levels. The GAO says reported scams in 2012 reached 18,000, the same as 2011 and 2010. By comparison, 9,000 scams were reported in 2009. African Americans and seniors continue to be the biggest scam victims. There has been a significant uptick in the number of schemes involving lawyers, who are allowed to accept upfront fees when offering mortgage reduction services. As we have repeatedly written before, never pay for mortgage reduction services or pay anyone demanding upfront payments for counseling. If you find yourself in a challenging mortgage situation, the most important step you can take to avoid becoming a scam victim is to learn the warning signs of a scam. Most importantly, remember that foreclosure and mortgage assistance is offered free of charge by HPF’s HOPE Hotline at 888-995-HOPE (4673). Our trained, HUD-certified counselors are here to help and have the knowledge and expertise to direct you to trusted, legitimate resources.