[UPDATE] Scams: Too Good to be True

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Scams Too Good to Be True Part 4

Sayreville, NJ - Marie Miller works seven days a week - determined to hold onto her home.

Marie Miller says, "No, no, I'm not going to lose it."

When she fell behind on her mortgage payments, she asked the bank to lower her interest rate. When the lender took too long, she went to a mortgage rescue firm called New Day Financial Aolutions. Its web site - lordsavemyhome.com.

Miller says, "They told me they would talk to my mortgage company and negotiate for me..."

She paid the persistent agent 2500 dollars. It turns out that upfront fee was illegal and once New Day got her money --she never heard from them again.

Miller finally contacted the attorney general's office. She found out she wasn't the only victim and investigators were already on the case.

Paula Dow, NJ Attorney General, says, "In many instances the consumers never got the relief they wanted and lost the complete fee."

New Jersey's attorney general went after new day for fraud, and recently settled for 800,000 dollars. The company is now out of business, but with more than four million homeowners facing foreclosure, authorities say there are plenty of other scammers looking for easy targets.

Dow says, "This type of conduct is simply outrageous. It's predatory, it's hitting people when they are most vulnerable."

Miller says, "I don't know where their morals are. how do they sleep at night knowing that they can bring somebody down even lower."

Miller bounced back. Her lender granted the loan modification. She can now afford her payments, but she's still stung from the embarrassment of getting ripped off.


Scams Too Good to Be True Part 3

Ocean Grove, NJ - Nancy Yobbagy worked hard, saved her money, and expected to retire on the Jersey shore, but now, her house is in foreclosure, and all her money is lost to a scam artist.

Yobbagy, a scam victim, says, "I said where is my money. And she said you don't have any money now."

The woman Yobbagy trusted to invest her money - Zina Martin. They met at church..and Yobbagy eventually handed over her modest pension and her husband's. She received statements every month showing impressive returns - 15-percent and more, but those statements were false. Prosecutors say Martin spent the money on herself, and it didn't stop there.

Yobbagy says, "I got a call from a bank saying you're in default on your mortgage, and I said you must have the wrong number because my mortgage is paid."

Yobbagy hired a lawyer who says Zina Martin forged the paperwork for two mortgages - adding up to about 700-thousand dollars. Then, she let them go into default.

Richard DeVita, Yobbagy's attorney, says, "She caused this house to go into foreclosure. Nancy has lost every cent of every dollar she worked for."

Yobbagy raised four children, and lost two of them to cancer. She says she'll survive this tragedy too.

Yobbagy says, "I'm sad because I was foolish. I was foolish to trust her."

Zina Martin pleaded guilty to robbing investors of just under a million dollars. She's serving a ten year prison sentence, but that doesn't bring back Yobbagys' money. And retirement is now an impossible dream.
Scams Too Good to Be True Part 2

Kathryn Joseph is what scam artists look for.. The job hunter says, "I don't like to say desperate but I guess you could say desperate."

Like millions of other Americans, she needs a job, but with two toddlers to watch, she's looking for work-at-home jobs. The kind widely advertised on the internet. One required her to buy these (bath salts) and other products.

"It was a set for 60-dollars."

Kathryn says most of the 20 on-line jobs she found didn't pay. She had to spend money.

"HUNDREDS, THOUSANDS? Probably over a thousand dollars..."

The federal trade commission is cracking down on 'work at home scams'.Offering tips on the web, including a warning from a man once convicted of taking advantage of desperate job seekers.

"There was a ridiculous amount of money to be made. You could take in 20 million dollars in 8 months... "

Christine Durst screens up to five thousand job leads every week for her career site. Over the past three years, bogus ads have skyrocketed.

Durst, Co-Founder of Staffcentrix, says, "For every 62 leads we look at, 61 of them are scams and only one is legitimate."

Be suspicious if they charge a fee for information about the job, also, if the ad says no experience is necessary. And, if the pay is unbelievably high - don't believe it.

Kathryn Joseph admits she should have known better.

"There is that carrot in front of me that I keep chasing after."

Experts say the best rule is one of the oldest - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Scams Too Good to Be True Part 1

Brick, NJ - The Canfields were in trouble on their mortgage and moving quickly toward foreclosure. When out of the blue came an offer too good to refuse.

Nancy Canfield, a foreclosure victim, says, "They had somebody who would buy our house and lease it to us for two years and then we could buy it back after we got ourselves back on track."

The Canfields sold their home to an operation called JP Global. They didn't receive any money, but they were able to stay in their house - as renters.

They held the closing in this building, but to the Canfields, the office looked temporary. There were no phones, and the agents seemed nervous.

Canfield says, "I felt like a pit in my stomach like I had just been had."

Still, the Canfields remained in the house and started paying rent to the tune of $2300 a month. Until certified letters started arriving from the bank . They revealed that the new owner had taken a second mortgage on the house, and then disappeared. The loan went into default and the home where the Canfields raised their daughter was back in foreclosure.

Canfield says. "They are horrible, evil people. Preying on poor people that can't afford it."

We were unable to reach JP Global, but the New Jersey Attorney General's office has filed a lawsuit, accusing the company of fraud. That litigation could drag on for years. So for now, the Canfields are living here on borrowed time

Regina Gelzer, the Canfields' attorney, says, "They do not have title. They do not have a mortgage. Basically they are squatters in their own home."

The Canfields are still hoping to buy back their home, and they want their story to serve as a warning to others.

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