Mortgage Refinancing Scams Prey on Military


Mortgage Refinancing Scams Prey on Military 


November 10, 2016
Service men and women are, unfortunately, often the targets of scams. One con that preys on military members is predatory lending, when unscrupulous companies use false promises to trick borrowers into bad loans.


How the Scam Works:

You get an offer – via mail, email or even social media – touting mortgage refinancing just for members of the military or veterans. The advertisement mentions special offers, such as government programs for veterans. It may claim to be endorsed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or be part of the official Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan program.


You call the number provided, and the refinancing company “guarantees” you an excellent interest rate. It may sound like a great deal, but proceed with caution! This has several red flags. Real lenders never guarantee a loan rate upfront, and the VA does not contact homeowners about mortgages. This may be a case of misleading advertising, or it might also be an outright scam, where con artists charge upfront fees and then vanish with your money.


Protect Yourself From a Predatory Loan Scam:


Mortgage refinancing is not the only loan scam targeting service members, veterans, and military families. Use caution when evaluating auto loans, student loans, and short term “payday” loans.

  • Don’t pay for the promise of a loan. It’s illegal for companies doing business by phone in the US to promise a loan and require payment before they deliver. All advance fee loans are illegal in Canada.
  • Investigate claims that it’s a government program. Scammers increase their credibility by connecting themselves to official or trustworthy institutions. Do your research and contact the government or your loan servicer first.
  • Legitimate lenders never guarantee a loan in advance. Real lenders will check your credit score and other documents before providing an interest rate and/or loan amount.
  • You are pressured to make a decision immediately. Phrases like “act fast” or “limited time offer” should be red flags indicating a possible scam. Scammers hope that time pressure makes victims more likely to make costly mistakes. Some legitimate companies use this sales technique, too, but you should never feel pressured to make a snap decision about something important.
  • Legitimate lenders don’t pressure you to pay via wire funds transfer, prepaid debit cards, or gift cards. These services are like cash. Once it leaves your hands, it is very difficult to trace and almost impossible to reverse.

For More Information


Visit BBB Military Line ( to learn more about BBB’s consumer education program specifically for military members and their families.
To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker (





This Scam Alert has been sponsored by Western Union, a BBB National Partner.




The Future of Retirement Savings in California

Join The Pew Charitable Trusts and the California Budget & Policy Center for an expert convening on Thursday, November 17, about California Secure Choice, the new retirement savings program that was passed by the California Legislature and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. During this half-day event, participants will discuss what this state-mandated retirement plan for the private sector will mean for employees and employers, explore key implementation questions, and look at how California’s retirement savings challenge compares with that in other states.

Featuring keynote remarks by
California State Treasurer John Chiang

Plus expert insights on:

  • What Secure Choice is and how it will work.
  • What Secure Choice means for employees and employers.
  • Retirement savings challenges in California and across the nation.

View the detailed agenda.

Thursday, November 17
8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Sheraton Grand
1230 J St.
Sacramento, CA 95814

Registration required by noon on November 14.


Or copy this link:

The hosts of this conference make every effort to comply with federal, state, and local government ethics rules when hosting events. The Pew Charitable Trusts is currently registered to lobby in California. Please make sure that your participation is consistent with applicable ethics rules.

Attendance is complimentary.

The Pew Charitable Trusts
901 E St. NW, Washington, DC 20004
© 2016 The Pew Charitable Trusts


FTC Military Consumer Toolkit

For military folks, financial decisions can have long-term effects on family life, security clearance, and mission readiness. In fact, the Department of Defense (DoD) has said that financial readiness is a critical part of the force’s mission readiness. It makes sense: when you know how to manage your money – and how to spot a rip-off – you’re more financially solid. And that helps keep you mission-ready. That’s why the FTC created the Military Consumer Toolkit with DoD, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Military Saves, and dozens of federal, state, and other partners.

The Military Consumer Toolkit has short, mobile-friendly tips that won’t slow you down. If a servicemember wants to buy a car, manage their money during deployment, or continue their education, they can get started on their phone at In addition to the tips, the Toolkit has a short guide and presentation slides for financial counselors with suggestions for using the tips when advising the military community.

If you work with those who serve – and the families that support them – use the slides and talking points for financial readiness lessons and events. Share the tips and blog posts on your social media networks. All materials from the Military Consumer Toolkit – and from the Federal Trade Commission – are free. There’s no copyright on any of our resources. Cut and paste the tips, slides, and talking points; print and make copies; or order free copies of consumer publications from

So if you work with the military community, check out the Toolkit at – and then share it with someone else who can use it. They can get tips to know where their money goes, make today’s paycheck go further, and avoid the latest scams. It’s all at

FTC Alert for Spanish-speaking victims of a mortgage relief scam

FTC Alert for Spanish-speaking victims of a mortgage relief scam

According to the FTC, Brookstone Law and Advantis Law firms convinced homeowners to make an upfront payment to join a mortgage lawsuit against banks and lenders, supposedly to help them avoid foreclosure, get rid of their mortgages, or get money from their lenders.

FTC investigators have discovered that the law firms hired Spanish-speaking salespeople – none of whom were lawyers – to interact with people, help establish credibility and make their targets feel more comfortable. The salespeople used a Spanish-language script to lure homeowners into these bogus mortgage lawsuits, tricking them into paying illegal upfront fees – which, in the end, got them nothing.

Did you talk with or give money to Brookstone Law or Advantis Law? Or did you counsel someone who did? Here are a few things to know:

  • If you still need information about your particular case, seek the advice of a private attorney. You can also visit the receiver’s site for more information (in English), including your rights in this case.
  • Make sure the attorney you talk to is legitimate. Take down the full name of the person you are speaking with. Then check with your state bar association to make sure they are a member of the bar in your state, and in good standing.
  • Never pay a mortgage assistance company until it delivers the results you want. It’s illegal for companies to collect any fees until a homeowner has actually gotten an offer of relief from his or her lender and accepted it. If a company asks for upfront fees, it’s a sign of a scam.
  • Contact a credit counselor if you need help paying your mortgage. The Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) is a member of the HOPE NOW Alliance of mortgage servicers and counselors. Call them at 1.888.995.HOPE.

For more information, check out  Mortgage Relief Scams article. If you think you are a victim of mortgage fraud, file a complaint at

Visit the FTC’s website at

CDI Seniors Information Center

Seniors Information Center

Welcome to the California Department of Insurance (CDI) Senior Information Center. If you are a senior citizen, this website is especially for you. Seniors today face an increasingly difficult time when making decisions about insurance. Changing laws, more choices, and the threat of scams combine to make these decisions even more stressful.

The best way to make informed and safe decisions is to become familiar with the facts. Browsing the links on this page will help you do just that. It may be helpful to review this information with someone you trust. The information available from this site is designed to educate and provide resources to help you make informed decisions. We hope you find this site useful.

Please view our Annuities – It’s Your Choice video for additional information regarding annuities.

In addition to the senior specific insurance information provided below, we recommend that you also visit the Senior Gateway. This site is sponsored by the Elder Financial Abuse Interagency Roundtable (E-FAIR) of which the CDI is a part.

Annuities – It’s Your Choice

Duration: 15 min 33 sec

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FTC Acts to Stop Telemarketing Fraud Targeting Seniors

FTC Acts to Stop Telemarketing Fraud Targeting Seniors

At the Federal Trade Commission’s request, a federal district court in Arizona has temporarily shut down a fraudulent telemarketing scheme that allegedly bilked more than $9 million from thousands of consumers across the nation, many of whom are elderly and live on a fixed income, including military veterans.

According to the FTC’s complaint, the defendants cold-call consumers and urge them to buy or invest in e-commerce websites, or websites that link to popular e-commerce websites, such as The defendants falsely promise lavish returns and assure skeptical consumers that their investment is “risk free” or that it comes with a “100 percent money back guarantee.”

The defendants have allegedly received payments from consumers ranging from several hundred dollars to more than $20,000. During the first 90 days after consumers authorize payment by credit card, the defendants respond to their calls, assuring them that their “account” is earning substantial money that will be paid at the end of the quarter. The defendants allegedly use stall tactics to dissuade skeptical consumers from disputing the charges (many credit cards include a 90-day limit on consumers’ ability to dispute charges). After 90 days, the FTC alleges that the defendants typically cease all contact with their victims, who receive neither the promised returns nor refunds.

The FTC’s complaint names the scam’s three owners and operators, Susan Rodriguez, Matthew Rodriguez and William “Matt” Whitley, and their six corporations, Advertising Strategies LLC, Internet Advertising Solutions LLC, Internet Resource Group Inc., Network Advertising Systems LLC, Network Professional Systems LLC, and Network Solutions Group Inc. They are charged with violating the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule, including calling numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.

The complaint also alleges that the defendants use mail-forwarding services to disguise their location, and that they have changed their business name and mailing and physical addresses to avoid detection by law enforcement. For example, when the Arizona Attorney General’s office summoned Susan Rodriguez to testify about the defendants’ business at a Phoenix address, the defendants promptly closed that office and moved to a different location, and Rodriguez failed to appear to testify. The defendants most recently have done business as Titan Income. They have previously done business as Building Money Network and, Prime Cash and, and Wyze Money and

Under the terms of the temporary restraining order granted by the court, the defendants have temporarily ceased operations and their assets are frozen for potential consumer redress. A hearing for a preliminary injunction is scheduled for October 18, 2016.

Order FREE Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Publications. – Mail Fraud Alert (10×14 placemat)

CFPB Bulk Publications

Order FREE Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Publications.

The central mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans-whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products.

You may download products by clicking on each product’s name, and download Adobe Reader to view the products. Please allow 3-4 weeks for delivery.

For single copies or small quantities, place your order of CFPB publications at

Mail Fraud Alert (10×14 placemat)
Image of Publication Cover Placemat with special alert about mail fraud. For use in meal delivery services, congregate care facilities, or to share with friends and family.

Released: 2016
Pages: 1
Publication ID: 13259
Item number: CFPB259

PDF Icon Download this publication
for FREE (PDF format)
Order this publication in print
Cost: Free

IRS Imposter Scams Infographic

IRS Imposter Scams Infographic

Scammers pretend to be IRS officials to get you to send them money.

BBB: “Resources and Tips for Dealing with Debt Collection,” a webcast from CFPB Servicemember Affairs

“Resources and Tips for Dealing with Debt Collection,” a webcast from CFPB Servicemember Affairs

This production provides tips and information about ways to communicate with debt collectors. Includes resources from CFPB that you can use in dealing with debt collectors.

CFPB announces 30 new Your Money, Your Goals partners to help low-income consumers – Including City of Los Angeles

CFPB announces 30 new Your Money, Your Goals partners to help low-income consumers
– The City of Los Angeles was added as a public entity partner
Original article posted on CFPB website

We’re working to expand the reach of Your Money, Your Goals to more consumers, so we’ve selected 30 new organizations across the country to implement Your Money, Your Goals training with their frontline staff. These organizations include state and local government agencies, social services, legal aid, volunteer-based, and worker organizations, and a consortium of three consumer development financial institutions. Take a look at a brief summary of our new partners  and what they’re working on.
Since the national launch, nearly 300 organizations have used the Your Money, Your Goals toolkit to serve more than an estimated 150,000 consumers with low-to-moderate incomes.  Our new partner organizations, working together with our existing partners, will help us meet our goal of training an additional 15,000 frontline staff and volunteers, who can serve potentially an estimated 400,000 more consumers.

Key findings from the Your Money, Your Goals national launch report

We launched Your Money, Your Goals in 2014 to help low-to-moderate income consumers obtain accurate information about managing personal finances. Your Money, Your Goals is an adaptable toolkit with a “train-the-trainer” approach that equips social services staff, including case managers and others, to help clients identify financial challenges and goals. This includes how to create saving and spending plans, understand credit, manage debt, choose financial products, and access consumer protections. The toolkit helps frontline staff address basic questions and helps clients identify steps they can take to address their financial challenges.

In a new report , we found that three key elements contribute to the increasing reach of our Your Money, Your Goals initiative:  a modular toolkit, free training materials, and a “train-the-trainer” structure. From June 2014 to June 2015, the report found that more than 600 people trained by us went on to train more than 6,000 frontline staff.  We also learned that frontline staff in the training program reported having increased confidence to assess a client’s financial situation from 43 to 81 percent, and confidence in ability to discuss core money management topics with clients grew from 45 percent to 84 percent.

The free Your Money, Your Goals toolkit and training materials are available for download at:

To learn how to lead a Your Money, Your Goals training or to receive email updates, contact us at