Riding and learning: Vans have info on mortgage scams

Instead of reading the morning paper, commuters will now be able to learn more about mortgage scams on their way to work.
“My passengers have been inquiring about the information, and they’ve taken about 50 percent to 60 percent of our handouts,” said Derrick Morgan, driver of the City Express Inc. commuter van that has been supplied with the information against predatory lending scams.
This is all a part of a campaign brought by the Jamaica Housing Improvement (JHI) Inc., an organization that works to improve living conditions in Jamaica, and Highbrid Outdoor, a Brooklyn-based advertising agency.
Together they have teamed up for a campaign that launched Thursday, July 18, informing local residents about how they can avoid mortgage lending fraud through the use of a City Express Inc. commuter van that runs on Linden Boulevard in Cambria Heights.
Peggy Morris, Executive Director at the JHI, believes that anyone is at risk for mortgage fraud and everyone should be on the lookout for it.
“A community is like a family,” she said. “If one member gets sick, it impacts the entire family. Just like your neighbor next door who thinks they are safe, as soon as they [predatory lenders] break them down they’re coming for you next.”
To counteract that growing issue, JHI and Highbrid Outdoor have transformed a normal commuter van into one completely decked out with all the information one needs to know on avoiding scams by predatory lenders.
“The company’s vans transport over 500,000 Queens commuters daily,” said Daniel Gutzmore, regional Vice President of Sales for HighBrid, about why the City Express commuter van is a great vehicle for the campaign.
On its inside, passengers can take advantage of the various handouts, flyers, and pamphlets filled with tips and ways on how to avoid the trap of mortgage scams.
Even for those who don’t ride in the van, its colorful design, brightly printed contact information, and campaign motto printed in Spanish, English, and Creole, are made clearly visible and understandable to pedestrians and drivers on the street who are interested in the information that is provided.
“We want to take this campaign where the predatory lenders have been reaching our people, on the street,” said Morris.
Currently there is only one van for the campaign that will run until November, but Morris said that with help from people who can contribute, they hope to expand the campaign making it available to more residents in Queens.

More from Around New York