FDIC raises awareness on foreclosure

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is hosting two forums at Florida A&M to help consumer advocacy groups and consumers to avoid foreclosure scams.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Web site, Florida ranked second in the nation for reported mortgage scams on 2008 and that one in 10 mortgage applications in Florida had some type of misrepresentation.

“I’m glad that this event is taking place because my husband and I are thinking about buying our first home and with the housing market in such a slump, it might be helpful to know how to avoid scams because criminals could prey on people who are not informed,” said Carla Richardson, 27, a fifth-year pharmaceutical doctorate candidate from Tallahassee.

The FBI Web site also said, a few of the most common scams are convincing homeowners that they can save their homes from foreclosure by transferring deeds or the payment of upfront fees, which usually results in the criminals selling the home or taking a second mortgage on the home without the owner’s knowledge.

“Preying on people about to lose their homes and tricking them into believing that genuine help is being offered is cause for outrage,” said Attorney General Bill McCollum.  “Foreclosure rescue fraud is a terrible epidemic, and the Attorney General’s Office is aggressively working to protect Florida’s homeowners.”

The Web site explained that the most common perpetrators are accountants, mortgage brokers and lenders because they are more familiar with the mortgage process and know how to exploit homeowners.

The forums are scheduled for Thursday in the Grand Ballroom at 10 a.m. and are free and open to the public.

Representatives from the Florida Attorney General’s Office, Department of Financial Services and NeighborWorks, a non-profit organization that helps revitalize and improve distressed communities, are invited to attend.