The Justice Department, US Treasury and other agencies said they are taking more aggressive action to confront 'bottom feeders' of the mortgage industry who prey on borrowers facing foreclosure.

The efforts to combat fraudulent schemes that are promoted as official government programs include filing civil lawsuits, educating homeowners about mortgage-relief scams and directing borrowers to 'legitimate' counseling services, according to a statement today. The Housing and Urban Development Department, Federal Trade Commission and state officials are also involved.

'Just as this administration intensifies our efforts to help American homeowners, those who seek to prey on the most vulnerable are intensifying their tactics as well, often through purported mortgage-modification and foreclosure-relief companies,' Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said at a news conference in Washington.

The Age, New York Times