The FBI recently released a report describing the mortgage fraud crimes in the United States for the fiscal year 2009. The report found that mortgage fraud activity increased in 2009, with a 71 percent increase in pending FBI mortgage fraud investigations compared to 2008. Of these investigations, 66 percent involved dollar losses totaling more than $1 million.

The United States is facing a distressed housing market, despite an increase in 3 million housing units in the U.S. inventory from 2007 to 2009, with foreclosures up by more than 120 percent and home prices decreasing annually from 2007 to 2009. In addition, unemployment in the U.S. increased from 7.7 percent in January 2009 to 10 percent in December 2009.

In the face of this economic crisis, the government has injected the economy with funds aimed to stabilize the troubled economy. Unfortunately, many of these efforts for financial reform are vulnerable to fraud as well. Mortgage fraud perpetrators are taking advantage of the weak economy and seeking loop holes in the system in order to commit fraud for financial gain.

For more on which areas and individuals are most affected by mortgage fraud and how the FBI is reacting to this situation, read Think Glink’s full article.

Also, check out Robin Holland’s What Is a Fraud Alert and How Does It Affect Your Credit? and Credit Monitoring Products: Taking Charge of Your Credit with Credit Monitoring on the Equifax Personal Finance Blog for more information on identity theft, a crime related to mortgage fraud, as well as Ilyce Glink’s articles on the Equifax Personal Finance Blog about real estate.