Indiana attorney general warns of mortgage settlement scams


Indiana's attorney general wants home owners to be on the lookout for scam artists trying to capitalize on a $25 billion national mortgage settlement with the nation's five largest banks to target homeowners.

In February, Indiana was one of 49 states that joined the federal government's settlement with Ally, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. The banks will provide relief to distressed borrowers and direct payments to states and the federal government. The agreement stems from the banks' foreclosure abuses and fraud, and unacceptable nationwide mortgage servicing practices.

But Attorney General Greg Zoeller says scammers are calling consumers and offering to speed up cash payments from the settlement if a bank account routing number is provided. Thieves claim to be from one of the major banks involved in the settlement or even the government.

While no reports of the scam have been made in Indiana, the Attorney General's Office offers several tips to avoid falling victim:

· Eligible consumers will not have to pay a fee to collect any money from the national mortgage settlement.

· Scammers may contact you claiming to be from your bank and asking to confirm personal or financial information. Do not release any information to an unsolicited caller.

· If you think the caller may be legitimate, ask for the person's name and title and tell them you are going to call your bank and confirm. Make sure to use the official contact information for the bank and not a number the caller gives you. Scammers frequently give false contact information and then pretend to be the bank when you call or email.

· A bank will never ask for your routing or checking account information over the phone.