MaineHousing warns consumers of possible financial assistance scam
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MaineHousing warns consumers of possible financial assistance scam

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Automated calls offering financial help may not be legitimate

AUGUSTA, ME – September 17, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Maine homeowners receiving a recorded phone message from someone telling them to call “Maine Housing Authority” to help with foreclosure or to refinance their mortgage may be victims of a scam, state housing officials warned today.

“These calls are not coming from us, the Maine State Housing Authority (MaineHousing),” said MaineHousing Director Dale McCormick. “We do not make automated calls offering foreclosure assistance

– or any other kind of automated calls.”

McCormick warned residents not to be fooled by their telephone’s caller ID.

“Scam artists using sophisticated computer software can make it appear a call is coming from a legitimate organization or going to a legitimate organization, even when it is not,” McCormick said. “This is known as ‘vishing’.”

McCormick noted that MaineHousing offers foreclosure prevention information on its website at

www.mainehousing.org/education and refers people to HUD-approved housing counselors for help.

“If you are having trouble with your mortgage payment, it is important that you ask for help

– from your loan servicer, and from a HUD-approved housing counselor,” McCormick said. “If someone calls you and offers to solve your financial problems – beware.”

MaineHousing employees have received several calls recently from people who said they received an automated call directing them to call “Maine Housing Authority” if they were facing foreclosure or having problems making mortgage payments. The toll free number provided was very similar to but not the same as a toll free MaineHousing number.

Officials said if you receive such a call, do not give out any personal information. If you already have provided personal information such as your social security number or credit information and are worried about identify theft, you can call Maine’s Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection at 207-624-8527.

If you have paid money to a company for financial assistance and are worried it is a scam, contact your bank and the Office of the Maine Attorney General at 1-800-436-2131 or 207-626-8849 to file a complaint.

“We have no way of knowing how many people received the automated calls, but we want to remind consumers to be careful,” McCormick said.

MaineHousing’s mission is to assist Maine people to obtain and maintain decent, safe, affordable housing and services suitable to their unique housing needs. Visit our Web site at

www.mainehousing.org.

MaineHousing does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, physical or mental disability, or familial status in the admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its programs, and activities. MaineHousing will provide appropriate communication auxiliary aids and services upon sufficient notice. MaineHousing will also provide this document in alternative formats upon sufficient notice. MaineHousing has designated the following person responsible for coordinating compliance with applicable federal and state nondiscrimination requirements and addressing grievances: Mary Darling, Maine State Housing Authority, 353 Water Street, Augusta, Maine 04330-4633, Telephone Number 1 800 452 4668 (voice in state only),(207) 626 4600 (voice), 1 800 452 4603 (TTY in state only), or (207) 623 2985 (TTY).

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