Other Group of House Hunters? Scam Artists

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WASHINGTON – Not driven as much by rate as by opportunity, one group of people is getting aggressive in mortgages: scam artists.

In a newly released report, the FBI said its pending investigations of mortgage fraud had increased 12% in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2010, to 3,129 cases. That was a 90% increase over the previous fiscal year, the FBI said, adding it expects to see the surge in such fraudulent activity to remain.

A big driver of much of the fraud is foreclosures and consumers having trouble making payments. The FBI said it has seen an increase in loan modification scams and foreclosure rescue schemes in which perpetrators convince borrowers they can save their homes through deed transfers and upfront fees. Perhaps not surprisingly, the three states identified as most problematic for mortgage fraud are California, Florida and New York.


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