Beware! Common Real Estate Scams

Posted On April 19, 2017

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Scammers target homebuyers or sellers because of the amount of money at stake during the real estate transaction.  Using trusted real estate professionals, keeping communication open, and staying aware throughout the process can help reduce the risk of fraud. 

Here are some common real estate scams and how to avoid them:

Funds Transfer Fraud – funds transferred to a scammer can be very difficult to recoup, especially in the case of international cybercrime.  It is best to only respond to a verbal or in-person request for a wire transfer, as email communication is one of the ways scammers can pose as a member of the real estate team.  Always consult your real estate professional before proceeding with any wire transfer.

Property Misrepresentation – some scammers use the address and photos from an actual home listed for sale to create fake “home-for-rent” ads online.  The scammers will pose as landlords who are out of town and can only communicate via email or on the phone and avoid in-person meetings.  They ask for security deposit or rental payments for the property in question and agree to provide a code to the door lock once the payment has been made.  To avoid this trap, always use trusted real estate professionals and research the property online.  Find out if the person communicating is the rightful owner before initiating any funds transfer.

“I’ll sell your home or buy it myself.” – this is a common bait-and-switch tactic for unethical real estate agents to win appointments.  These programs come with stipulations attached that most homeowners would never agree with.  An ethical agent will be transparent and reasonable.

Home buyers and sellers can be susceptible to scammers because of the amount of money exchanged during the transaction.  Using a trusted real estate team is the best way to protect your investment.