The fake mortgage programs that brought Google under recent scrutiny don't seem to be run by Google-exclusive con artists. Mortgage scams that claim to provide assistance from the U.S. government have also been located in Microsoft adCenter. Microsoft has cooperated in banning the associated advertisers from Bing and Yahoo search results.
According to the statement from SIGTARP (the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program), at least 125 illicit companies of this nature were identified. The investigation, however, remains ongoing.
Microsoft, meanwhile, has extended its cooperation in much the same way Google did earlier on in the investigation. Microsoft proactively shut down the accounts of more than 400 advertisers that were connected to the 125 mortgage scam companies.
"Many homeowners who have fallen prey to these scams were enticed by web banner ads and online search advertisements that promised, for a fee, to help lower mortgage payments," according to Christy Romero, Deputy Special Inspector General for SIGTARP.
In addition to working with Google and Microsoft to shut down these ads (which Romero states will "dramatically decrease the scope and scale of these scams"), SIGTARP hopes to educate home owners.
According to the official SIGTARP statement, "Homeowners can protect themselves from becoming a victim of these scams by seeking a HAMP mortgage modification directly through their lender or mortgage servicer or through HUD-approved housing counselors." The HAMP program is free of charge and approved by the U.S. government.
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Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
Rob is an equal-opportunity fanboy of anything technologically impressive; search engines, HTML 5, and cloud software are just a few worthy objects of his affection. His work as a webmaster (since 2002), in the web development industry (since 2005), as an SEO specialist (since 2008), and as a dedicated writer in the internet technologies field (since 2009) have given him a rounded perspective on the workings of the web. Rob still uses command prompt, hard-codes in notepad, and his favorite TV show is Firefly.
March 19, 2014