Scammers taking advantage of homeowners having difficulty paying their mortgages through fraudulent schemes that purport to assist homeowners with their mortgage difficulties, but then only steal more money from the desperate homeowners are finding that the federal government is taking strong actions against such scammers.  Earlier this week Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government’s Distressed Homeowner Initiative had filed criminal actions against 530 people during the past year.  These defendants are accused of stealing money from 73,000 distraught homeowners at a cost of a billion dollars.  In addition to these criminal actions, there have also been more than 100 civil actions filed against another 150 defendants accused of scamming 15,000 vicims out of 37 million dollars.

TIPS

The best way to deal with a scam is to avoid being taken in the first place.  For too many people desperate times have resulted in people taking desperate measures.  Be wary of ads for mortgage assistance that you get through an email and don’t pay upfront fees for mortgage assistance.  Always check out the legitimacy of any company with which you may consider working with the Better Business Bureau, your state’s attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission.  You may also find it helpful to Google their name with the word “scam” next to it and see what comes up.  Some mortgage scam rescuers request that you sign your home over to them on a temporary basis until the debts are dealt with.  These are always scams.