Mortgage scams shut down by the government to protect homeowners
Nov 23 2011 4:50PM
Struggling homeowners have been targeted by mortgage scams that offer help preventing foreclosure for up front fees. Recently, the search engine Google was criticized by Consumer Watchdog, claiming the company was enabling the scams by advertising on their site. The Associated Press reports that the government and Google worked together and closed 125 mortgage scams in the last week.
The scams were recently linked to other search engines including Yahoo and Bing, and government officials are stepping in to make sure homeowners don't fall victim to phony mortgage-modification programs. The office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program announced that it was working to clean up and inspect any misconduct by the search engines, while the identities of swindlers have not been disclosed due to the ongoing investigation.
TARP reports that Google has suspended business ties with more than 500 agencies connected to the alleged scams. Microsoft's Bing and Yahoo search engines also agreed to stop accepting business from internet advertisers.
The AP reports that the fraudulent ads pop up when homeowners search phrases such as 'stop foreclosure.' The government wants homeowners to be aware that these scams often demand fees and never provide services, violating the homeowner's right to deny payment for unsatisfactory or incomplete agreements.