Scams surge amid foreclosure problems

Another downside to swelling foreclosures: More scamsters, preying on people desperate to save their homes.

The N.C. Attorney General's Office handled 448 foreclosure-scam complaints last year, a jaw-dropping jump from 82 the previous year. In 2007, there were just seven.

Among the big offenders are firms charging upfront fees for so-called foreclosure-prevention help. That's been illegal in North Carolina since 2005, but people fearful of losing their homes and frustrated with the modification process continue plunking down their scarce cash in the hope of getting help.

Last year, the AG's Office issued 166 cease and desist orders to firms pedaling mortgage modifications or other foreclosure assistance. That's more than four times the 40 orders in the previous year.

Read the complete story at the Charlotte Obsever's