The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) and Google together shut down 85 alleged online mortgage modification scams, that prey on vulnerable homeowners through Web owners and other Web advertisements.
SIGTARP says Google’s cooperation will have an immediate impact and protect countless homeowners.
Google has suspended relationships with more than 500 online advertisers who allegedly used AdWords to prey on vulnerable homeowners looking to modify their mortgages.
“Some schemes involved asking homeowners for an up-front fee, telling them to stop paying their mortgage and stop contacting their lender. Sometimes, mortgage payments were diverted to scammers.”
In some cases, homeowners also transferred the deeds to their properties to the criminals and released other sensitive personal financial information.
“The first place many homeowners turn for help in lowering their mortgage is the Internet through online search engines, and that’s precisely where they are being taken advantage of and targeted,” said Christy Romero, Deputy Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, in a statement. “Web ads that offer a false sense of hope may not be legitimate and can end up costing homeowners their home.”
“SIGTARP is diligently working on every level to stop these frauds, to protect homeowners from being victimized, and to hold accountable criminals who defruad homeowners in connection with HAMP and other TARP programs.”
Full press release is embedded below: