Tools

HomeOwnership Center: Loan scams hitting home

By By EVAN WHITE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Dozens of people throughout the Mohawk Valley have been scammed or nearly scammed by Loan Modification scammers.

In the last year, about 40 clients have complained of scams at Utica's HomeOwnership Center, according to Julie Howarth, a counselor at the center.

Scammers are soliciting struggling homeowners with promises of stopping a foreclosure or modifying a loan. State Attorney Generals and the Federal Trade Commission have taken action against numerous companies involved with deceptive marketing with regard to loan modifications.

Experts say to be aware of any companies offering to help you restructure loans if they:

  • Ask for fees in advance
  • Guarantee that they'll stop a foreclosure or modify loans
  • Tells you to stop paying your mortgage company and instead, pay them


Oneida County and foreclosure rescue scams

Oneida County Assistant District Attorney Matthew Worth couldn't recall any such scams being reported to his office in recent memory, but said they are often referred to the state Attorney General's office or U.S. Attorney's Office. The State Attorney General's office has an ongoing investigation into so-called "foreclosure rescue," scams.

There are 274 homes listed as foreclosed by Realtytrac, a California firm that tracks foreclosures nationwide according to Realtytrac.
 
Foreclosures were up 75% as of November over the previous month, and have climbed 40% over the previous year.

If you think you've been scammed, you can contact Utica's HomeOwnership Center at 315-724-4197, or the Attorney General's office at 1-800-771-7755 or visit www.loanscamalert.org.

 

What's On