Common Real Estate Scams That You Need To Avoid
Many real estate scams have been around for decades, and they just keep being reinvented to trick new and unsuspecting victims. Back in 2014, it was estimated that real estate fraud amounted to a whopping $19,800,172. There are different ways scammers operate, and it’s possible to lose not just your hard-earned money, but also your home to these people. Sadly, the ones who are often targeted are seniors. The Federal Trade Commission reports that those in their 50s and older had the most to complain about, and they accounted for 23% of all fraud complaints. Every year, scams get trickier to spot, and here are some of the shadiest scenarios plaguing real estate in our country today.
Reverse mortgage scams
Reverse mortgage scams often target seniors by misleading them into taking out a loan to steal from them. The way this works is that perpetrators would identify seniors who are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure. The scammer would then convince the senior to get a reverse mortgage to save the home, only to inform the senior that he or she does not qualify for the loan. Once the senior is talked into getting a traditional mortgage, the property and equity get transferred to the scammer. Not only do you lose your money and home, but the devastating part is that reverse mortgage scams are often done by people that are close to you. To avoid getting scammed, you mustn’t sign anything that you don’t understand and seek a reputable reverse mortgage counselor.
More people are turning to the Internet to find a rental, and perpetrators are taking advantage of this by pulling a rental scam. Scammers would usually copy online listings and repost them as their own, then they pose as the agent representing the listing. Usually, the perpetrator would ask for money upfront and claim that it’s for the security deposit. Alternatively, the scammer would ask you to wire the money, then you’ll never hear from the fake agent again. If you do, you’ll likely get told that your application was denied. To avoid becoming a victim of rental scams, be on your guard if you’re asked for upfront fees or are told to wire money. It’s also best to check out listings from a trusted website to avoid getting scammed.
Don’t let any type of scammers take advantage of you. Do your research, be vigilant, and always consult an expert first before making any decision regarding your property. Doing so will save you the heartache of being a victim of these real estate scams.