FDIC Launches Foreclosure Prevention Tool Kit
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) released a tool kit of information that will help avoid unnecessary foreclosures and stop “rescue” scams that promise -- but do not deliver -- aid to borrowers on the verge of losing their home. The tool kit includes information to point borrowers to the right contacts and clarifies what documents they need to apply for loan modifications. It includes a brochure that encourages consumers to contact their servicer if facing financial difficulties. The “Beware of Foreclosure Rescue and Loan Modification Scams” brochure provides information on common schemes, such as partial interest bankruptcy scams. An operator in such a scheme asks a borrower to give partial interest in the home to one or more people as the borrower makes payments on the delinquent mortgage that the operator pockets, FDIC said. One by one, the holders of the interest file for bankruptcy to delay foreclosure while the operator collects payments, according the brochure. The FDIC conducts outreach to community organizations and the banking industry to help consumers report such instances of fraud to the appropriate law enforcement agencies and identify sources of legitimate help. "Everyone with a stake in this issue – from community leaders to those with a neighbor, friend or family member facing hardship – must take responsibility for reporting questionable activity and directing consumers to legitimate sources for assistance," says FDIC chairman Sheila Bair. Write to Jon Prior.