Mortgage foreclosure scams — which seek to dupe struggling home owners with offers to save them from financial troubles — have soared nearly 60 percent this year. Scammers are increasingly using federal programs, like refinance programs such as HARP and HAMP, to try to trick home owners, reports the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF), a nonprofit group that helps home owners avoid foreclosure.
“Every new government initiative spawns a slew of foreclosure avoidance scams, often from the same cast of characters doing business under various names to avoid easy detection and identification,” says Colleen Hernandez, CEO of HPF. “Most of these scams involve individuals supposedly offering mortgage foreclosure avoidance assistance that trained HPF counselors provide at no cost. Sadly, with most scams, no meaningful services are ever provided.”
About half of the reported scams to HPF tend to involve claims of specialized “legal services” from attorneys or individuals to help home owners avoid foreclosure.
The HPF warns that scammers also are using the HPF logo and brand to try to dupe home owners in foreclosure rescue scams.
“The only way distressed home owners can be certain they are dealing with a trained HPF counselor is by calling 888-995-HOPE,” Hernandez says