Business

Learn to Avoid Fraud Workshop in Kona

March 4, 2013, 2:21 PM HST
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As part of National Consumer Protection Week (March 3-9), officials with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs are alerting Big Island consumers about mortgage fraud and offering a free workshop on avoiding investment fraud.

“The purpose of National Consumer Protection Week is to promote consumer education by providing free information that will help individuals safeguard their privacy, manage their money and debt, and avoid identity theft, frauds, and scams,” said DCCA Director Kealii Lopez.

One of the DCCA’s most urgent areas of consumer protection concern is mortgage foreclosure. According to DCCA, the rate of homeowners in default on their mortgages or facing foreclosure is at an all-time high.

Capitalizing on the current economic downturn and housing crisis, “foreclosure rescue” companies often scour foreclosure notices and filings and prey on consumers desperate to save their homes from being foreclosed.

Many homeowners facing foreclosure are susceptible to tactics by scam artists.

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The DCCA website provides mortgage foreclosure consumer protection information at http://hawaii.gov/dcca/ocp/information-regarding-mortgage-foreclosure/mortgage-rescue-scams.html.

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The website suggests that consumers beware of:

  • Anyone who offers to arrange to stop or delay foreclosure for an upfront fee.
  • Anyone who offers to pay your mortgage or save your home if you transfer the deed to your home.
  • Anyone who offers to make your mortgage payments for you.
  • Anyone who advises you to stop making your mortgage payments or to ignore calls from your lender or mortgage servicer.
  • Direct solicitations sent via mail, e-mail or telephone, or in-person solicitations at your home.
  • For-profit companies with names suggesting a government affiliation or who claim to be approved by the government.
  • For-profit companies that claim they have a relationship with attorneys but do not provide legal services.

Officials are also hosting a free seminar on “Outsmarting Investment Fraud” on March 14  from 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel in Kailua-Kona.

The presentation, which includes a free buffet dinner, will include information on common tactics used by con artists, simple steps you can take to protect yourself, and what to do if you suspect investment fraud.

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You can also learn more about protecting yourself from investment fraud online at  SaveAndInvest.org, a free service from the financial authorities at the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.

The website provides information on preventing fraud and ways to help you handle your finances with confidence.

Advance registration is strongly recommended as space is limited. Register for the free seminar online at aarp.cvent.com/fraudhkona or call toll-free (877) 926-8300.

 

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