Feds declare war on mortgage rescue scams

As the economy struggled and the housing market lost its massive gains -- taking homeowners' equity down with it -- scams to help consumers avoid foreclosure have been booming. Crackdowns here and there seem to have done little to dissuade others from preying on people in their most dire hour.

Demonstrating just how out of control these foreclosure rescue scams have gotten, the Obama administration paraded out an impressive collection of officials to declare war on the crooks. You don't often see that level of firepower (three cabinet members among them) taking on a scam.

This is among the worst type of scams that anyone can fall victim to. With the family home at stake, a potential victim is desperate, liable to believe anyone who appears legitimate enough to help make everything OK again.

Attorney General Eric Holder described those who perpetrate these scams as "despicable" and "immoral." The FBI, he said, is working on 2,100 mortgage fraud cases, up 400% from five years ago.