Foreclosure Rescue Scammers Busier -- and Trickier -- Than Ever
From the looks of the mortgage relief companies Christopher Mallett has marketed in recent years, offering lower payments and new loan terms to troubled homeowners, one might easily get the impression that he has the backing of the federal government or is running non-profit help groups.
Mallett is the driving force behind usbankloanmodification-gov.info and mortgagehelpgov.us. He also founded The Department of Consumer Services Protection, U.S. Debt Care, the U.S. Mortgage Relief Council and several other operations with similarly authoritative if not auspicious-sounding names. But people who turned to them for help didn't receive services, according to court documents filed by the Federal Trade Commission in U.S. District Court this month. Their names were instead sold to companies that almost universally scam distressed homeowners, federal regulators say.
Consumer advocates inside and outside the federal government say Mallett appears to be part of a rapidly growing network of foreclosure-rescue and debt-settlement companies that are aggressively marketing their services to the crop of cash-strapped consumers that's grown out of the housing crisis. Many of these companies break the law by portraying themselves as agents or partners of the federal government and by guaranteeing relief that they fail to deliver, FTC officials said.
In the last three years, The FTC has accused Mallett and nearly 40 other company owners of deceiving consumers about foreclosure prevention services. This year alone, attorneys general in Virginia, Idaho, Ohio, Michigan and North Carolina have brought cases against foreclosure rescue companies. In most cases, the companies collected up-front fees for their services. That practice has been banned by the FTC since January. But new mortgage relief services are constantly evolving.
Read the full story
at The Huffington Post
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