Free Session on How to Avoid a Foreclosure Rescue Scam

Wed, 03/30/2011 - 6:30pm
Wed, 03/30/2011 - 8:30pm

If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is!  Everything You Need to Know to Avoid Falling for a Foreclosure Rescue Scam.  The session will be held Wednesday, March 30th from 6:30-8:30pm at the Capital Area District Library-Downtown, 401 S. Capitol Avenue, Lansing, MI. It is sponsored by Region 7 Voices for Action Foreclosure Prevention Initiative and the Capital Area District Library.  Any homeowner who is having trouble paying their mortgage is encouraged to attend.

On March 1, 2010 the FBI launched a multi-agency initiative called “Operation Stolen Dreams,” hoping to stem the tide of foreclosure rescue scams and mortgage fraud across the country. Losses associated with mortgage fraud alone are estimated to be between four to six billion dollars annually. “Mortgage fraud ruins lives, destroys families, and devastates whole communities,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. As of June 2010 the FBI was pursing more than 3,000 mortgage fraud cases, which is almost double from the previous fiscal year.

The crisis has prompted the FBI to create 23 mortgage fraud task forces in “hot spots” across the country sharing intelligence and industry data to identify emerging threats. The FBI’s investigation has targeted ten states with high concentrations of mortgage fraud and Michigan is on the list.   Certified foreclosure counselors working on the ground in the Greater Lansing area see the results as they work with homeowners who have been bilked of their last few hundred dollars by con-artists promising to save their homes.

The purpose of the community forum on March 30th is to help homeowners identify, avoid and report foreclosure rescue scams. “We want homeowners to understand that they don’t have to be victims.  They can take action,” said Fred Parker Jr, Communications Coordinator for Region7 Voices for Action. A panel of experts will include the Assistant State Attorney General-Scott Teter, Craig Banaszak from the FBI, the Michigan Foreclosure Task Force, Legal Services South Central Michigan and a local certified foreclosure counselor. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and arrange for follow up for homeowners who need additional help.

The Michigan Foreclosure Task Force Co-Director Neeta Delaney said “The proliferation of foreclosure rescue scams targeted at beleaguered Michigan homeowners is "salt in the wound" that has already been created by our state's high foreclosure rates - 7th in the nation. Preventing these scams and reporting them when they do happen, though, is just a matter of making sure people know what to look out for and who to contact if they suspect they may have been a victim. This series of community information sessions will go a long way to do just that.”