Realtors Warn Home Buyers of Growing Real Estate Scams

Realtors Warn Home Buyers of Growing Real Estate Scams

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Scammers will try anything to trick people out of their hard-earned money. Recently, some realtors have taken to the internet to warn potential home buyers that criminals are now posting fake real estate listings in an effort to defraud buyers. Here’s what you need to know about these insidious property schemes.

How It Works

These kinds of scams pop up from time to time online, and they’re tricky due to how simple they are. A scammer will simply file for a deed for a property they don’t own, using forged documents to make it look like they’re the property owner. Once they have a few convincing-looking documents, it gets difficult to tell them apart from the rightful owner of the property in question.

With the right forged documents, like a fake ID in the name of the rightful owner and a few faked receipts, a scammer can quickly make a compelling case that they own a plot of land they’ve never paid for. This is troubling because once they’ve received payment for the property they have no claim to, they’ll simply vanish. They were probably using a fake name the whole time, anyway.

Spotting the Scam

The best way to spot a real estate scam is to be vigilant when you’re applying to rent a property or buy a plot of land. Ask the realtor or landlord to show you around the property, and make sure you ask questions that only the property owner could answer. 

If the seller gives you the runaround or claims they can’t show you the property in person, something is wrong. There’s no legitimate reason a seller couldn’t give a buyer a tour of a rental property they expect to put on the market. 

What Should You Do?

If you suspect you’ve encountered a property scammer, the first thing you should do is hold off on sending them any money for supposed properties. Contact the authorities and tell them what you’ve seen. If you can, try to arrange an in-person meeting with the scammer while accompanied by law enforcement. That way, police can arrest the scammer and save other people from the trouble of giving money to a criminal.

Remember, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Apartments and properties being offered online for rates well below the market value are probably scams! Just be careful before you send any money to someone you can’t independently verify as the real property owner.