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AG targets mortgage rescue scams – Democrat & Chronicle- August 20, 2015

AG targets mortgage rescue scams.
By:David Riley

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is launching an ad campaign to educate homeowners about scams that promise to rescue them from foreclosure.

The advertising blitz will highlight AGScamHelp.com, a Web-based app that Schneiderman’s office launched late last year.

Mortgage rescue scams typically target property owners at risk of losing their homes. Scammers charge an upfront fee and promise to negotiate better mortgage terms, but often bilk the homeowner while offering little or no actual help.

Monroe County homeowners have reported 40 of these alleged scams to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in recent years, according to Schneiderman’s office. Statewide, homeowners submitted more than 2,700 complaints about mortgage rescue scams, for a total of at least $8 million in losses.

Schneiderman’s office said it plans to launch ads on billboards and Facebook to educate homeowners about how to spot, avoid and report such scams.

AGScamHelp.com will point people to the Homeowner Protection Program, a network of nearly 90 housing counseling and legal service agencies that offer free assistance to homeowners who face foreclosure. The program, funded through a national mortgage settlement, has helped some 2,100 Monroe County families since it launched in October 2012, Schneiderman’s office said.

The website also can help people find out if a mortgage rescue company is reputable and how to file a complaint.

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