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Virginia's New Weapon in Fight Against Loan Modification Scammers

September 13, 2010

RICHMOND, Va. - The fight against loan modification scammers continues in Virginia, and now homeowners have a new weapon. It's called the Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network, and it's part of a national effort partnering with state and local governments and nonprofit organizations. The goals are to identify who the scammers are and to warn and educate potential victims.

Paula Sherman, education and training coordinator with Virginia-based Housing Opportunities Made Equal, one of the groups involved, says complaints lodged against the sham companies will go into a national database to better aid each state.

"The companies that are scamming homeowners here in Virginia are coming out of Florida, Texas and California. But what most people need to remember is that these companies are everywhere."

Sherman says she has no shortage of loan-scam victims coming into her office these days, adding that she hears many of the same complaints. The victims fall prey to companies advertising on television, online or elsewhere with a promise to help lower mortgage payments and help keep foreclosure at bay, she explains - all for a fee.

"A fee that ranges anywhere from $300 to... we actually saw one yesterday that was close to $4,500. They promise to secure a loan modification for the homeowner and pretty much make their housing problem go away. The only problem with that is it just never happens that way."

If you feel that you have been scammed by a company that promises loan modifications and charges you a fee, you can visit www.preventloanscams.org to fill out a form to be logged into the national database. Information about what to watch out for and how to prevent being scammed is also available.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - VA