Foreclosure Scam Crackdown

New Mexico – A New Mexico law that went into effect Tuesday is aimed at companies that charge homeowners and make fraudulent promises to help them get their loans modified to protect their homes against foreclosure.

Attorney General Gary King says there's been an alarming increase in mortgage rescue scams as a result of the U.S. housing crisis.

He says many of the companies targeted by the Mortgage Foreclosure Consultant Fraud Prevention Act operate from outside the state.

The law applies to people offering services to stop or postpone foreclosure.

It requires companies to provide a written contract disclosing their services and charges and prohibits firms from charging fees until the services have been provided.

The law calls for up to a year in prison and-or a $10,000 fine for a violation.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.