National

Apr 20, 2010 11:47 AM by Associated Press

Mortgage aid program said more vulnerable to scams

A government watchdog is warning that recent changes to the Obama administration's mortgage assistance program may make it more vulnerable to fraud.

The changes are intended to make it easier for struggling homeowners to avoid foreclosure.

But the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, says the administration needs to do more to warn the public about potential fraud. Neil Barofsky is also calling for additional safeguards to prevent abuse.

Last month, the Treasury Department revised the $75 billion mortgage assistance program it first rolled out last year. It is intended to prevent 3 million to 4 million home foreclosures by encouraging mortgage lenders to lower monthly payments.

So far only about 170,000 homeowners have qualified for mortgage modifications.

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