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FBI: Mortgage scams in Ohio, across country on the rise

Foreclosure and mortgage fraud scams are seeing a large spike in the United States, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Authorities say the rise in mortgage scams could well continue to increase if the economy does not improve. Financially distressed homeowners can be vulnerable to the scams as they try to save their home and put a halt to home mortgage foreclosures.

FBI assistant director David Cardona says, "If we have continuing high unemployment and increased numbers of foreclosures, what we see is a greater percentage of the population of existing homeowners being vulnerable to these schemes."

Mortgage origination scams used to be a hot topic, however, with a decline in the economy and housing transactions the origination scams have been replaced. Scams involving loan modification and foreclosure rescue schemes are on the increase. Scam artists convince distressed homeowners they can save the home through deed transfers for a fee. The fees are collected up front in the scams.

Loan modifications are not necessarily scams. Negotiating a modification can often assist a distressed homeowner from losing the home to foreclosure. In some cases, filing bankruptcy is an option. Bankruptcy itself will, at least temporarily, halt a mortgage foreclosure.

In many cases, the bankruptcy proceeding can effectively save the home though a chapter 13 plan, where appropriate, or through the debt relief gained in a chapter 7 bankruptcy. Distressed Ohio homeowners can seek out the advice of an experienced Cincinnati bankruptcy attorney to learn what relief may be available in an individual case.

Source: Thomson Reuters News and Insight, "FBI sees mortgage fraud growing as economy stumbles," Lily Kuo Aug. 12, 2011

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