Whatever is in the news is always fodder for scammers.  Whether it is scams that lure people in with claims of photographs of Osama Bin Laden following his fatal shooting or photographs of Whitney Houston dead in her bathtub, scammers always manage to appeal to our curiosity about whatever is current in the news.

Many people were harmed by the actions of major banks in regard to their mortgage loan and foreclosure practices.  Following legal action by the federal goverment and the state attorneys general, a partial settlement was reached with Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial (formerly known as GMAC) by which these banks will provide 1.5 billion dollars in cash payments to 750,000 former borrowers whose homes have been foreclosed upon and another 20 billion dollars to be paid to provide some financial relief to some other distressed homeowners who have not been foreclosed upon.

But no good deed goes unpunished and the scam artists are right there taking advantage of the confusion brought about by people not understanding how the settlement works.  Recently, scammers have been calling homeowners posing as representatives of the banks.   They tell their victims that they are eligible for the settlement and that they have to pay a fee to participate in the settlement.  They go on to ask for bank account information in order to be able to deposit the settlement funds into the homeowner’s account.  However, their real goal is to take the fees as well as access the homeowners’ bank accounts and never be heard of again.


The mortgage settlement is complicated, however, you should be aware that there are no fees for particpating in the program.  The best place to go for information upon which you can rely is the website of the mortgage settlement which is www.nationalforeclosuresettlement.com.  You will find the real story behind the mortgage settlement there as well as directions as to how to determine whether you are eligible for any of the funds and how to claim any funds for which you may be eligible.  As always, be careful when typing in the domain name in your browser to insure that you are not being sent to a website of the scammers that is just slightly different from the proper website.  You also can contact your own state’s attorney general for help and guidance.