Listen to The Perfect Scam Podcast and Nominate It for a People’s Choice Podcast Award! Find Out More
by Ana Radelat, AARP VIVA, April 2009|Comments: 0
Some of the those who provided Hispanics with subprime and no-down-payment mortgages they could not afford are now targeting Latinos trying to refinance their homes, says Erlinda Avena, president of the San Diego Home Loan Counseling and Education Center.
“[Scammers] are promising to refinance or get loan modifications that they can’t guarantee. They’re charging an arm and a leg, promising the world, and the result is that people end up losing their homes,” says Avena, who is Mexican American.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Trade Commission, Justice Department, and Treasury Department are cracking down on mortgage fraud that victimizes all types of homeowners, but Latinos are disproportionately affected, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan says.
“The very predators responsible for some of the housing products that caused the housing crisis are responsible for this,” says Donovan. “We need to bring those who unfairly and illegally target Hispanics to justice.”
Publicity about President Barack Obama’s efforts to help homeowners refinance mortgages has helped these scammers, Donovan says. Many imply they are linked to the federal government—for example, the Federal Loan Modification Law Center of Irvine, California, which the FTC accused of charging $1,000 to $3,000 upfront to refinance homes while making little or no effort to contact lenders to renegotiate mortgages.
Scammers advertise in English and Spanish on the radio, Internet, and television, and use telemarketers to collect information and payments from homeowners, says the FTC, which recently sent warning letters to 71 companies suspected of deceptively marketing mortgage loan modifications or foreclosure rescue services.
AARP Segunda Juventud examines how the changes proposed by the Obama administration will impact older Hispanics and their families. In our exclusive series, President Obama's First 100 Days, we look at retirement, health care, the economic stimulus, and mortgage bailout efforts, and offer incisive interviews with Latinos in Obama's inner circle, including Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Cecilia Muñoz, the president's director of Intergovernmental Affairs.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Exclusive savings and benefits with the AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford.
Members earn points on select Walgreens brand health and wellness products.
Members save $65-$200 on round-trip tickets purchased online.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at