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For Immediate Release
September 26, 2006
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

ATTORNEY GENERAL CURRAN WARNS CONSUMERS TO BE WARY OF FORECLOSURE SCAMS

With interest rates rising and real estate markets slowing, many homeowners are worried about not being able to pay their mortgage payments and fear the ultimate: foreclosure. The higher payments have made many homeowners strapped for cash and often they do not know where to turn for help. Many do not know their options and panic---traits that scam artists feed on. In the latest issue of his consumer newsletter Consumer’s Edge, Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. warns homeowners and consumers to be wary of foreclosure scams and offers tips on how to avoid them.

Homeowners should know that the Maryland Attorney General’s office provides a list of organizations that homeowners may contact for advice concerning pending foreclosures. Homeowners can go to www.oag.state.md.us/consumer/foreclose.htm or call 410-576-6300 for a list of organizations offering foreclosure counseling and for other information regarding the Foreclosure Counseling Services Law.

Scam artists learn of homeowners in distress by scouring public foreclosure notices in newspapers and government offices. They then contact the homeowner by mail, e-mail, phone or in-person and pose as such things as “foreclosure rescuers,” “mortgage consultants,” or “foreclosure services.” With promises to save the homeowner from foreclosure, scam artists dupe desperate homeowners out of their money by:

  • Charging exorbitant fees for phone calls and paperwork that the homeowner could do on their own. The homeowner is left without enough assistance to actually save the home or with no time left to prevent it from happening;
  • Convincing homeowners to sign over the title of their home with the belief they will be able to live in the house as a renter and eventually buy the house back over time. The rent of the home is often too high and so burdening that buying back the home becomes impossible and the scam artist walks away with all or most of the home’s equity;
  • Getting homeowners to sign documents for a new loan to make the mortgage current, but in reality they are signing over the ownership of their home.

To find out more information on foreclosure scams and how to avoid them go to www.oag.state.md.us/Consumer/124.pdf.

Curran’s office distributes The Consumer’s Edge through businesses, schools, and community associations. Groups interested in the newsletter should call 410-576-6500.



   

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