How the scam works:
In the United States, the government's $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement program alleviated the fear of foreclosure for many families, as it helped thousands of homeowners stay in their homes.
Unfortunately this windfall also brought scammers out to prey upon unsuspecting homeowners who were already in dire financial straits. The National Mortgage Settlement scam is still circulating; here's what to look out for.
The scammers call the homeowner and ask for the routing number of their bank account so that they can deposit cash directly from the settlement to their bank. Of course, this money never reaches the bank and their account, via access to the routing number, is cleaned out. In another variation of this scam the caller will inform the victim that they qualify for relief in the form of a loan refinancing but only after paying a large processing fee.
Many homeowners, staring at foreclosure, will scrape together the last of their money to obtain relief that never comes.
How to avoid the National Mortgage Settlement Deposit scam:
Luckily, state and federal authorities are well aware of these scammers and their tactics. Recently they have stepped up their efforts to reduce mortgage-related crimes by hiring additional investigators. The creation of task forces dedicated to solving this problem and bringing these scammers to justice has also been helping. In the hardest hit states of California, Nevada and Florida they have even held mortgage fraud summits to alert the public to the severity of the problem.
If you receive a call of this nature, disregard it completely, try and obtain information about the “company” that is calling and notify your state authorities with the information. No legitimate company will ever ask for your banking information over the telephone; if they do, do not give it to them.
There should also never be any fees involved in a refinancing unless you have made the arrangements for this yourself. If you are doubtful in any way of the veracity of the claims being made, ask for something to be sent to you in writing and then research the company online or call your local authorities to see if this company has been reported as a scam operation.
How to report the National Mortgage Settlement Deposit scam:
Make your family and friends aware of this scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
How to protect yourself more:
If you want to be the first to find out the most notorious scams every week, feel free to subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You'll receive periodical emails and we promise not to spam. Last but not least, use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.
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