Homeowner Beware: Mortgage Scams on the Rise

I can't exactly say this bit of news comes as a surprise, given the current economy and the nature of ...well...human nature. But reports of mortgage fraud in the third quarter of 2009 (the most recent set of figures) show a hefty 7.5 percent hike over the year before.

This news comes to us from something called FinCEN. never heard of it? FinCEN is the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a unit of the Treasury Department that collects reports of suspicious mortgage activity.

This is one of those good news, bad news type stories, I want you to know. The good news is that the reported "increase" includes reports more than a year old; some more than two, so the agency warns that it doesn't necessarily mean scams are rising.

The bad news is that the agency says it has gotten hundreds of reports of some types of fraud--such as ones involving loan modifications--just since April.