Geithner said these scams are often used by companies that portray themselves as government agencies and adopt Internet addresses that appear official. Such firms "callously rob Americans of their savings and potentially their homes," he said. "We will shut down fraudulent companies more quickly than before. We will target companies that otherwise would have gone unnoticed under the radar."
The officials said 20 states have started to crack down on these scams. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who participated in today's announcement, said she plans two lawsuits, which will bring her total to 24 since 2006. "It's not a question of if we'll come after you," she said. "It's only a question of when." The scope of the problem was suggested by a recent FTC survey of advertising by mortgage foreclosure rescue operations. The survey identified 71 companies running suspicious ads. The program announced today puts significant emphasis on greater coordination among agencies, better education for consumers and increased warnings and alerts. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network also promised more aggressive targeting of scammers.
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