Real estate scams cost buyers and sellers, renters and landlords, billions of dollars every year. If you know the the warning signs it can help you to avoid costly mistakes.
- Down-payment Wiring Funds Scam: Hackers have been known to break into email correspondence of mortgage companies, or title company or even a real estate agent or broker. Then they observe the emails until they see a client has a closing date set at which point they will create a fake email account that looks like its coming from someone within the transaction. They send an email to the buyer containing fraudulent instructions, such as where to send their down payment. To avoid this scam be absolutely certain you can verify where every communication is coming from and never send money without double checks and confirmation.
- Craigslist Rental Scam: Scammers go to real estate websites like Zillow and collect property details and even property photos. They use that information to create fraudulent ads on Craigslist offering the home for rent. When someone inquires about the property the scammer will then ask for a showing fee or an application deposit before the renter can even see the property. To avoid this scam be aware that a reputable landlord will never ask for a fee to see a property. If any sort of money is required before viewing the property, there is a scam involved.
- Foreclosure Relief Scam: If you are behind on your property payment and the bank or lender has started foreclosure it can be a very stressful experience. Often scammers will try to take advantage of your difficulty by knocking on your door and offering some sort of foreclosure relief. Foreclosure details on properties are public information and anyone can have access to them, including the scammers unfortunately. More often than not anyone offering you foreclosure help you did not expect is probably someone up to no good. They are likely to ask for a cash payment up front for their services, after which you will never see them again. To avoid this scam be wary of anyone offering foreclosure help out of the blue. And always research their legitimacy before giving anyone your money.
- The Invisible Home Scam: In this scam the Seller will have all the details needed to convince you to buy a particular home, but may not reveal the exact address of the home’s location. In certain markets home buyers may be desperate to relocate or find another home. The scammer who listed the home may have beautiful photos and description of a desirable home, but they have nothing you can cross reference with other sources to verify those details. Then the false agent will require a good faith deposit on the home before you have even seen it. To avoid this scam remember if someone is trying to sell you something you can’t see in person or get all the details from verifiable sources, you are being scammed.
- Lipstick On a Pig Scam: This is when the person selling their home knows there is a big problem or defect on their property but will not disclose it to potential buyers. They can sometimes even pay off their own home inspector so that he aids them in this fraud. To avoid this scam beware if a seller won’t allow you to have your own home inspection done or tries hard to discourage it. This is a common scam when there is unseen water damage, mold, or fire damage.
Credit goes to George Henry Sigfuse for these tips. To get more information, Click Here to watch his video.