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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Stacie B. Royster 202-662-8317
PreventLoanScams.org a New Online Tool in the Fight Against Loan Modification Scammers
WASHINGTON - February 17 - As part of a vigorous national campaign to strengthen the fight against loan modification scammers, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers' Committee) today launched www.PreventLoanScams.org. "This dynamic Web site is designed to assist federal, state and local governmental agencies and others in the enforcement of laws designed to stop illegal scammers by providing homeowners with a simple way to report alleged scams and creating a national clearinghouse and database for complaints that will be accessible to law enforcement and the public," said Barbara R. Arnwine, executive director, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. "The Lawyers' Committee is committed to stepping up and coordinating efforts to put these scammers out of business for good."
This Web site is part of the Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network (LMPSN or Network), a broad coalition consisting primarily of government agencies and nonprofit organizations which was created to strengthen the fight against unscrupulous scammers preying on homeowners facing foreclosure. The Network is led by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and NeighborWorks America. Other participants include representatives from key governmental agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Treasury Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and state attorneys general offices, as well as leading nonprofit organizations from across the country.
At the heart of the current economic crisis is a wave of foreclosures across the nation, nearly 4 million in 2009, which has disproportionately affected countless minorities. Millions of distressed homeowners have become vulnerable targets to fraudulent and sometimes criminal third-party scammers, con artists and thieves. The primary mission of the Network is to support existing enforcement efforts at the national, state and local levels by both governmental agencies and non-public organizations, and to educate and warn the public about this scourge.
Critical to the fight against scammers is vigorous enforcement of laws designed to stop scammers. The www.PreventLoanScams.org Web site and the national Loan Modification Scam Database will be important tools in assisting the enforcement effort by increasing the amount of complaint information to which law enforcement and others will have access. The Web site provides a simple online complaint form. The Network will automatically forward all complaint information to the Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Sentinel Database, as well as share the information with state and local law enforcement, provided express permission from the homeowner. Scams can also be reported by calling the 888-995-HOPE hotline.
In addition, homeowners, housing counselors and advocates will be able to access important scam reporting resources on the Web site. It also provides homeowners with information on free foreclosure counseling services, state-by-state information about resources available to them, tips on how to avoid a scam and fast facts about regulatory and enforcement efforts. In the future, the Web site will provide a public portal into the Network's Database that will allow users access to non-personal information about scam complaints that may be searched and sorted by jurisdiction, scam type and other criteria. The Network encourages visitors to check www.PreventLoanScams.org frequently for updates.The educational efforts of the Network are led by NeighborWorks America, which launched a national media and outreach campaign in October. This information can be found on www.loanscamalert.org, which also includes a link to the Lawyers' Committee's complaint form.