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W.Va. Attorney General: Mortgage Scams More Prevalent In Eastern Panhandle

Morrisey says his office has been flooded with hundreds of reports about mortgage scams. He says they are the number one consumer complaint in the Eastern Panhandle.

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -  West Virginia’s attorney general opened up a Martinsburg office in 2012. Since then, he has been trying to tackle issues that are unique to the Eastern Panhandle.

His office found mortgage scams are more prevalent in the Eastern Panhandle, compared to other parts of the state.

Morrisey says his office has been flooded with hundreds of reports about mortgage scams. He says they are the number one consumer complaint in the Eastern Panhandle.

"We haven't seen the same volume of our mortgage relief scams in other parts of the state,” said Morrisey. “In fact, in many counties, it doesn't make the top ten. Whereas in the Eastern Panhandle, it's usually at or near the top of the list."

After the housing market crashed in 2008, mortgage issues and foreclosures plagued the Eastern Panhandle. Morrisey says scammers began to take advantage of the crisis by luring people in with false promises of mortgage relief. It is now years after the housing bubble burst, but he says these scams are still a huge issue.

"Since we opened up the Martinsburg office in 2012, this has literally been our top complaint,” said Morrisey. “I was very interested when I saw how different the numbers were in the Eastern Panhandle, compared to other parts of the state. That's why I wanted to make sure that we're going to reflect that in the work that we do our of our Martinsburg office.”

The attorney general wants residents to know that if an offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is. His best advice? Work directly with your lender, and do some research before giving anyone your personal information or money.

"You'll always do well if you call you lender first. That's critical,” said Morrisey. “Second, we would urge you do to a little research on the internet or call the attorney general's office or the FTC to see if the firm you're working with is a scammer."

Morrisey says when it comes to mortgage assistance scams, prevention is the best way to make sure you don't fall victim.

He encourages residents to report possible mortgage scams to their Martinsburg office at 304-267-0239 or toll free at 800-368-8808.

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