The Scam: Mortgage fraud/Predatory lenders
The Targets: Homebuyers/refinancers; people with troubled credit
The Hook: Unscrupulous operators will offer to lower your monthly payments, use your equity for consumer purchases, or refinance your way out of bankruptcy, for example. They solicit aggressively by phone or email. Once you sign up, sky-high interest rates and unexpected fees apply.
How to avoid being victimized: Be wary of doing business with a mortgage lender you don't know or who isn't known in your community. Do your due diligence - check out any mortgage-business offer with the Better Business Bureau and the attorney general of your state (consumer protection division).