New app helps at-risk distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure rescue scams

Connects homeowners to government-vetted agencies

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the release of AGScamHelp, a web-based app designed to help homeowners determine whether a company has been vetted by a government agency.

But more importantly, the app will serve as a new alert system for users. Regular messages will notify at-risk distressed homeowners on how to recognize a foreclosure-relief scam to help prevent homeowners from falling prey to these scams, which are a massive problem across the nation.

In July, it was announced that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission were filing nine lawsuits against companies and individuals that collected more than $25 million in illegal advance fees with false promises to prevent foreclosures.

At the same time, 15 state Attorney General offices announced an additional 32 actions against foreclosure prevention scammers. New York was one of those states.

The release of the web app followed Schneiderman’s announcement of his office’s new consumer education initiative.

According to a release, the hope is to urge homeowners at risk of foreclosure to work with agencies participating in the Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP), a network of more than 85 housing counseling and legal service providers who offer free services to struggling homeowners.

“Through our new education initiative, we’re putting facts in the hands of those who are at immediate risk of foreclosure – and at immediate risk of getting scammed,” said Schneiderman.

AGScamHelp enables homeowners to search government-vetted companies, locate nearby HOPP partners, report scams and get tips on how to recognize sign of a foreclosure rescue scam.

“I encourage all homeowners to utilize AGScamHelp to check a company offering to help with your mortgage and report potential scams to our office in real-time,” said Schneiderman.

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