By JACOB KANCLERZ
Capital News Service
LANSING – State officials have ramped up efforts to stop scam artists who falsely promise to help homeowners escape foreclosure. In Michigan and in other states, scammers pledge to help homeowners modify their loans to avoid foreclosure. Modifying a homeowner’s loan typically involves changing the rate, the terms or the principal of the loan. The scammer will often take an up-front fee of up to $2,000 and pocket it without helping the homeowner, said Jodi Mercer, the program manager for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Since 2009, Michigan’s attorney general has received 811 complaints of loan modification scams and charged 28 individuals or companies for the crime, said Joy Yearout, the deputy director of communications for the attorney general.