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Sunday, November 23, 2014         

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Program warns of scams

By Andrew Gomes

POSTED:



State officials have launched a campaign to help educate Hawaii homeowners about foreclosure protection scams.

WHERE TO GET HELP

Nonprofit partners working with the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp. to provide counseling are:
» Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Hawaii: cccsofhawaii.org, 532-3225 on Oahu or 800-801-5999 toll free from neighbor islands
» Hawaii HomeOwnership Center: hihomeownership.org, 523-9500 on Oahu or 877-523-9503 toll free from neighbor islands
» Hawaiian Community Assets: hawaiiancommunity.net, 587-7886
» Legal Aid Society of Hawaii: legalaidhawaii.org, 536-4302 on Oahu or 800-499-4302 toll free from neighbor islands
 » Hale Mahaolu: halemahaolu.org, 661-5957 (Maui only)
The Loan Scam Alert program is being promoted by the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corp., a state agency that also administers federal grant money being used to provide free foreclosure counseling services through five nonprofit partners.

"As more homeowners are at risk of losing their homes, the number of scam artists taking advantage of distressed families is also increasing," said Karen Seddon, HHFDC executive director.

The agency said indicators that foreclosure "help" could be a scam include advice to quit making mortgage payments to a lender, guarantees to stop a foreclosure or modify a loan, and services that involve paying fees in advance.

For more guidance or to report a foreclosure protection scam, call 1-888-995-HOPE toll free or visit loanscamalert.org on the Web.

The website includes more details on common scams, including stories from people who have been scammed.

HHFDC urges homeowners who are struggling with mortgage payments to contact one of five nonprofit partners providing free foreclosure counseling through the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program initially funded by Congress and administered by NeighborWorks America.

Since February 2009, more than 1,700 households in Hawaii have received counseling through the program, according to HHFDC.






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