Data collected by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and other federal regulatory agencies shows that foreclosure rescue schemes have more than doubled in the past three years. Such scams have become more complex, too, involving lawyers and the bankruptcy code, among other intricacies.
GAO's Lawrance Evans states, "These schemes present unique challenges because attorneys typically collect fees upfront and enforcement officials have difficulty trying to determine whether attorneys are providing legitimate services." Complaints about the scams mushroomed from about 9,000 in 2009 to over 18,000 each year in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Certain demographics, particularly minorities and the elderly, have been disproportionately targeted. Complaints filed by African-American homeowners, for example, rose from 17 percent in 2010 to 24 percent just in the first four months of this year.