Con artists move quickly.
Just a couple of weeks after Maryland joined a multi-state mortgage settlement, state regulators are warning about scam artists trying to trick Marylanders into thinking they are entitled to that money. These schemers call or send an email saying they have a list of people who are eligible to receive cash from the settlement. They ask for the person's bank account number and promise to deposit the money.
In not so subtle language, state regulators say: "This is a scam!"
The $25 billion settlement — of which Maryland gets nearly $1 billion — involves the top five largest mortgage servicers. Those are Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase and AllyBank/GMAC.
State regulators say the lenders are supposed to contact affected borrowers directly about loan modifications. Although, state officials say, you and a housing counselor together can also contact the servicer to get more information about loan modifications and whether you would qualify. Marylanders can find a housing counselor online or by calling 1-877-462-7555.
Of the national settlement, $5 billion of the money will go to cash payments to people whose homes were foreclosed upon from January 2008 through the end of 2011. But it's going to take time before regulators and the banks figure out who will get the money.
To find out more details as they become available, check online with the Maryland attorney general, the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation and Maryland Hope. Or, visit the National Mortgage Settlement website.
And if you think you gave your banking account information to a con artist, contact that Commissioner of Financial Regulation at 410-230-6077.