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Mortgage fraud greater in areas riddled with foreclosures: Interthinx

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Two indices that measure employment-income fraud, as well as identity fraud, are up more than 30% over last year, according to Interthinx, a firm that measures fraud practices by analyzing fraud risks within mortgage applications. In its latest Mortgage Fraud Risk Report, Interthinx said mortgage fraud risk in 2010 was highest in areas with heightened levels of foreclosure activity. The report concluded that "criminals may be migrating to those areas" to make a profit. This  heightened risk comes at a time when fraud schemes are designed to take advantage of distressed housing markets through the deflating of short sale values to generate profits, the report claims. “As lenders acclimate to changing government regulations and economic conditions, so do the fraudsters,” said Kevin Coop, president of Interthinx. “Our most recent analysis indicates that fraud risk is on the rise again and that fraudsters are migrating to stay ahead of efforts to stop them. Most disturbing is the link between foreclosure activity and mortgage fraud." Areas with more foreclosure activity -- California and Nevada -- are experiencing greater fraud risks, according to the report. Write to Kerri Panchuk.

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