Scam letter - Frest StartArticle from Arizona Attorney General’s Office: PHOENIX (Wednesday, January 09, 2013) — Arizona homeowners should be on the lookout for a mailing that appears to be a legal document, but may be a ploy against mortgage consumers, Attorney General Tom Horne said today.

The mailing comes in an envelope that appears to be an official legal or government document, but there is no company name or return address on the envelope or the letter itself.  A call to the toll-free number in the letter reveals the company as Fresh Start, based in New York.

This is the latest in a seemingly endless series of illegal or possibly illegal ploys related to Arizona’s mortgage crisis,

scam letter - Fresh Start

The scam letter from Fresh Start informs homeowners that they may be eligible to join a national lawsuit or make a potential legal claim against a mortgage lender.  The pitch from Fresh Start is that the homeowner must first pay $2,700 for the company to do “research” and then another $2,500 to retain a lawyer.  Such up-front fees are a violation of federal regulations and Arizona consumer fraud laws.

“This is the latest in a seemingly endless series of illegal or possibly illegal ploys related to Arizona’s mortgage crisis,” Horne said.  “Fresh Start claims to offer so-called audit services as a precursor to directing consumers to obtain legal assistance for mortgage holders who may have been victimized in the mortgage crisis.  But they first require as much as $5,200 up front from a homeowner. This is a blatant violation of Arizona law.”

Horne added, “The irony in this case is the consumer who brought this to the attention of my office has not been victimized in the mortgage crisis, but Fresh Start indicated he may be eligible for relief anyway and should pay the initial up-front fee for ‘research’.  Consumers need to be wary of this and other similar ploys.

We have several videos on our web site.  Below are a few that might be of interest:
  • “Lender’s Foreclosure Rights in Arizona”
  • “Should I keep my home or let it go into foreclosure?”
  • “Meet Ms. Drain and Suggestions on How to Hire an Attorney”

MUSINGS BY DIANE: “For some reason whenever there is a crisis (flood, famine, mortgage crisis, etc) creeps come out of the woodwork hawking their schemes.  Some of these schemes seem to make sense.  Others stink from the very beginning.  The problem is that folks receiving these contacts are so overwhelmed by their horrible situation that they do not investigate the schemer.  The result is the most destitute of folks are preyed on by these criminals.  Terrible situations like economic crisis or natural catastrophes are over whelming for those not in the situation.  Think how those who are in the middle of this crises feel.  Be aware of your family and friends when they are in stressful situations.  Reach out to them.  Offer to be a sounding board.   You may need them sometime.”

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