WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is launching a new campaign in Miami, Chicago, and Los Angeles called Know It. Avoid It. Report It. This campaign has two objectives. First, it aims to direct homeowners facing foreclosure to trusted resources and housing counselors. Second, and more importantly, the campaign wants to solicit the support of homeowners in shutting down scammers who regularly target the elderly, Hispanics, and African Americans. Both objectives will be pursued through education and outreach, anti-scam reporting tools, and close cooperation with federal, state, local, and non-profit partners.
Newly deceptive scam artist tactics lure homeowners into misleading agreements. Their tactics include giving the false impression that they are affiliated with the government, charging illegal up-front fees, and executing fraudulent lease-back, financing, and repurchase schemes.
Highlights of the Know It. Avoid It. Report It. campaign include:
- Information on how to avoid becoming a victim
- Scam artist red flags and fraud warning signs
- Complaint form and hotline to report fraud or suspicious activity
- Resources for finding HUD-approved counselors and free housing workshops in every state
- Names of individuals and companies identified by law enforcement agencies who have allegedly committed loan modification fraud or foreclosure relief scams
Education, outreach, and grassroots efforts in hardest hit communities include:
- Multilingual brochures, posters, flyers, and other outreach materials
- Television, radio, print, mass transit, and out-of-home advertising
- Social media activity
With millions of homeowners in foreclosure or at risk of losing their homes as they fall behind on mortgage payments, and eight million Americans expected to face foreclosure now through 2012, the timing of this campaign could not be more prudent.
HUD’s goal is to motivate homeowners to call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) or visit www.hud.gov/preventloanscams to get the facts about fraud and to report suspected scammers.
Released:April 18, 2011