Vulnerable Homeowners Risk Victimization

Every day it seems to be the same story: the economy is struggling. Homeowners are struggling. Many homeowners face foreclosure. To save their homes and their livelihoods, many homeowners seek help from outside firms and companies. Opportunistic companies take advantage of homeowners and other consumers who are struggling financially by offering empty promises of help – for a price.
Recently, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed lawsuits against two credit services and foreclosure consultants who offered financial assistance to struggling homeowners and promised to help them out of debt. The firms advertised on the Internet to woo the homeowners, but what’s worse is that these firms are accused of specifically targeting vulnerable homeowners by researching public records of
foreclosures. With these records, the firms contacted homeowners with what appeared to be a random offer of help. Desperate, some homeowners accepted the help and lost money because of it.
The two firms, Community One Law Center and National Law Partners of Florida and California, allegedly accepted deposits in return for a promise to help the homeowner out of debt. According to the Indiana Attorney General, homeowners paid the firms anywhere from $499 to $2,699 for their assistance. The homeowners did not receive the help they were promised.
Consumer Fraud Complaints on the Rise
In this difficult economy, consumers have become vulnerable to scams promising to help with debt or reducing debt. Other cases of consumer fraud that have been in the news lately include “robo-signing” affidavits and empty promises from debt settlement companies. According to the Indiana Attorney General, complaints of consumer fraud are up 19 percent.
In order to avoid these scams, homeowners and other consumers should be wary of firms which offer financial assistance or debt reduction services that require payment by the homeowner or other consumer.
You don’t have to look far to find allegations of consumer fraud. One thing is clear – consumers need to be on high alert so they do not become victims.