Real estate scams come and go, but there are two prominent scenarios in our market right now!
- The bad guy searches public records to find real estate that is free of mortgages or other liens – often vacant lots or rental properties – and identifies the true owner. Then he/she poses as the owner and contacts a real estate agent to list the property for sale. Frequently, the “seller” will be located out of state and may only communicate via email, text, or phone call. The listing price is below market to attract immediate interest. The scammer prefers an all-cash transaction, and when an offer is made, it is quickly accepted.
- Rental scams on Craigslist are often found. There are several “red flags” that are commonly found in the fake ads on Craigslist for houses and apartments for rent. The rent is below market value, credit isn’t an issue, and the “owner” lives out of state. Again, they only communicate via email, text or phone. They will ask for a deposit to be mailed,(usually a PO box) and then promise to send the keys.
Your rental and home listing photos and descriptions can easily be copied and used by scammers.
Remember, if it is too good to be true, it usually is a swindle! Due your due diligence to protect your clients and yourself when interacting with out-of-state, suspect individuals! – Submitted by Deb Bailey