GARDEN CITY - State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a new tool Monday in the fight against scammers who prey on mortgage customers. connects people to legitimate mortgage assistance services. It also lets people search to see if a mortgage company they are already dealing with has been flagged as bogus, and it lets people report suspected scams.

It's welcome help for people like Gayle Fortunato, who fell behind on the payments on her Lynbrook home because of a family crisis. When foreclosure notices started to arrive, she looked for help adjusting her mortgage. She paid $3,000 to a California firm, but nothing was done for her mortgage, and she later realized she had been scammed.

"Scammers are flourishing in this environment of fear, and this environment of uncertainty," Schneiderman says.

Schneiderman says the average victim of a foreclosure scam in New York loses more than $4,100. He's urging people who suspect a scam to report it on the new website. "My office follows up on every one of these complaints," he says.