Mortgage settlement could lead to more scams

WASHINGTON – March 20, 2012 – The recent announcement of the $25 million mortgage settlement between five major banks and state and federal government officials was probably welcome news to many people in the real estate business. But it has at least one downside: It will probably cause a rise in scams targeting borrowers seeking assistance.

Currently, between $4 billion and $6 billion is lost each year due to borrower-assistance swindles, says Joanne Kerstetter, vice president of education and community relations for Money Management International, a credit counseling service based in Sugar Land, Texas. Those numbers could go up over the next few years as scammers take advantage of the mortgage deal in their schemes.

“They’ll use government terms,” Kerstetter says. “They’re going to sound very official, as if they’re part of the settlement.”

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