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04/04/12

Attorney General warns of settlement scams

 

New York's Attorney General is warning to homeowners to be on the lookout for scams involving national mortgage servicing settlements.

His warning to homeowners is below:

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman alerted New York homeowners today to beware of phone solicitations from scam artists claiming to provide assistance related to the recent national mortgage servicing settlement. Following reports of scammers impersonating bank officials or government officers to lure homeowners into providing personal or financial information, the Attorney General issued a list of tips to help protect unsuspecting New Yorkers from fraud. Attorney General Schneiderman also launched a new website today to provide New Yorkers with additional information on the mortgage settlement, and how they can get help.

 

“Homeowners and former homeowners who have been abused by their mortgage servicers deserve financial relief, but some despicable con artists are instead seeking to victimize these New Yorkers again,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “The best defense against any scam is information, and that’s why we’re offering these tips about mortgage settlement scams that have already surfaced. Our office will continue to be vigilant against any predators who seek to rip off New Yorkers.”

 

Based on reports received by the Office of Attorney General, scammers may identify themselves as representatives of a bank or a government agency calling about the national mortgage settlement, and offer to facilitate a payment if the victim provides a bank account routing number. Alternatively, scammers may offer assistance with a loan modification for a fee, or ask for other personal information that can be used for identity theft.

Homeowners and those who have lost their homes to foreclosure should always be wary of unsolicited calls, especially if they ask for any personal information. Offers to speed settlement assistance for a fee are fraudulent. Neither the banks, nor HUD-approved housing counseling agencies will charge a fee for settlement assistance.

The Attorney General issued the following additional tips to protect New Yorkers from being scammed:

 

  • Be skeptical of online ads or telephone solicitations that promise they can get you a mortgage modification or save your home from foreclosure. Only your bank or loan servicer can approve a loan modification.

 

  • Do not give your personal financial information to a solicitor, such as your bank account number, social security number or the name of your loan servicer. Your bank will already have this information.

 

  • Never pay an up-front fee for mortgage-related services. It is a violation of New York law to charge upfront fees for such services, and violations should be reported to the Attorney General’s office at 1-800-771-7755.
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