Scammers taking advantage of national settlement

WASHINGTON – More than 32,000 Virginia and Maryland residents will be getting checks from the government this week — part of a multi-state settlement with five major banks over abusive mortgage and foreclosure practices.

Word that the checks were actually on the way though, has brought back scammers trying to take advantage of the news.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says scammers are calling or sending out letters to people, particularly the elderly, telling them they may be eligible for some of the settlement money when they are not.

“In our letter with the check, we don’t ask them for any information,” he says.

“If they ask you for your information, you should be suspicious,” he says.

The attempt to scam people started months ago when the settlement was first announced, Cuccinelli says.

Incidents have picked up after the news that real checks are going out this week. Only people who previously applied will actually get a check for $1,480.

The payments are to compensate borrowers for abuses by the banks such as not offering a way to avoid foreclosure or over charging fees, Cuccinelli says.

The banks and lenders involved in the settlement are GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

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