Mortgage foreclosure rescue scams among leaders in fraud losses

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Mortgage foreclosure rescue schemes resulted in the second highest median individual loss to consumers among all types of fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission in 2019.

Last year, the FTC's Consumer Sentinel Network took in 3.2 million reports, of which 1.7 million were for fraud. Approximately 23% of the fraud victims said they lost money, with a $1.9 billion total loss. The median individual loss was $320.

But, mortgage foreclosure relief and debt management schemes resulted in a median individual loss of $1,290. It was topped only by foreign money offers and counterfeit check scams at $1,500, while business and job opportunities scams had a median individual loss of $1,000.

The financial losses for mortgage foreclosure relief and debt management are astounding, given there were just 10,605 reports for this category, representing just 0.33% of the total recorded by the FTC. In 2018, there were 10,440 reports (0.34%), while in 2017, there were 9,803 (0.34%).

When it came to military service members making reports, mortgage foreclosure relief was cited by 458 people, with 36% claiming they lost money, and the median individual loss being $1,400.

Another 650,572 reports were made for identity theft. Of those 7,706 involved using a fake ID to get a real estate loan, an increase of 49% from 2018.

In addition, about 900,000 reports were for "other," a broad category that includes complaints made about banks and lenders. There were 34,667 mortgage-related complaints in 2019 in that category, which included issues with predatory lending and loan modifications. That was down from 38,016 in 2018 and 42,941 in 2017, the FTC report said.

Not only victims make reports to the FTC's Consumer Sentinel Network. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was the second most prolific outside filer, with 353,023 reports, behind the Better Business Bureau with 561,224.

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Mortgage fraud Enforcement Foreclosures Loan modifications FTC CFPB