A national campaign organized by a partnership of local, state and Federal government agencies, nonprofit organizations and financial institutions kicked off a campaign today to alert homeowners to protect themselves against loan modification scams, find trusted help if they are having difficulties making mortgage payments, and report illegal activity to authorities
“As the foreclosure rate grows, more and more homeowners are being deceived by scam artists who prey on their fears,” said Eileen Fitzgerald, Chief Operating Officer of NeighborWorks America. “This campaign is based on the belief that knowledge is the best defense, which is why the campaign equips homeowners with the tools they need to minimize their risk and stop scammers in their tracks.”
The campaign, “Loan Modification Scam Alert,” was launched in Los Angeles , which consistently ranks among cities with the highest foreclosure rates and has the highest number of homes in foreclosure in the nation.
“Too many residents in Los Angeles, like homeowners nationwide, are losing thousands of dollars and their homes to scam artists who make big promises and then do little or nothing to help them save their homes,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “Anyone can be a victim and the people of Los Angeles need to know what resources are available to them. They need to know that legal aid groups, financial institutions, and HUD-certified counselors are offering free services to anyone seeking help.”
NeighborWorks America will coordinate the nationwide effort through its 235 community-based affiliates and other local, state and national partner organizations, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Together, the partners aim to reach thousands of distressed homeowners in hundreds of communities at high risk for fraud activity. The campaign will target all audiences, but its resources are focused sharpest on those groups that have already seen high levels of scam activity, including seniors, Hispanics, African Americans and Asian Americans.
As part of the campaign, information, resources and reporting capabilities are now available around the clock at http://www.loanscamalert.org/ and by calling 1-888-995-HOPE (4673). Community groups may also visit the Web site to access campaign materials available for download and distribution in their area.
The partnership has designated November as “National Loan Modification Scam Awareness Month” and will promote a variety of special events and initiatives throughout the month. In the coming weeks, the campaign will also travel to Miami (Oct. 29) and Columbus (mid-November). For more information about the campaign visit http://www.loanscamalert.org/.