Mortgage Scams Rise on Online Search Engines
Federal investigators are investigating Google, Bing, and Yahoo! search engines in a hunt to find con artists who are using the sites to dupe troubled home owners.
The online ads posted by scammers promise to help save home owners from foreclosure. The ads claim they’ll help home owners through a government-backed program by modifying their mortgage payments so they can keep their home. The deceptive ads often target victims when searches for phrases like “stop foreclosure” are made.
As part of the scam, con artists will ask for upfront fees or ask that mortgage payments be sent to them.
Investigators have already uncovered 125 mortgage scams through the search engines as of Monday, according to the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Meanwhile, the three search engines say they will no longer accept ads from Internet advertisements or agencies linked to such scams.