Scams are prevalent in all industries, and unfortunately the real estate industry is
not exempt from this. When there is money to be made, there are people who
are out to make a quick buck at the expense of other people. While we cannot
avoid these kinds of people in the world every single day, we certainly can be
made aware of the crazy schemes that they do so that you don’t fall victim to
Forbes magazine says that about 90% of people who want to look for homes go to
the internet. Scammers take advantage of listing data to target victims pulling
online listings and re post them as their own. The con artist will scrape a listing,
repost it on another site (for example Craigslist), and pose as the agent
representing the listing.
One of the most widespread and least detected ploys –especially in high density
and renter heavy cities like New York, revolves around phony application fees for
credit checks. The con artist actually have actual access to a home, advertises the
property with an alluringly low price tag, hosts an open house, and then collects
the application fees for credit checks. The prospective tenants who pounce on the
deal on the spot give the down payment to secure it. Those would be renters
never hear from the “agent” again, or if they do, it’s to be informed that their
“application” was denied.
The Federal Trade Commission on their website lists rental scam warning signs on
its website. Be wary if you are told to wire money, if you area asked for upfront
fees before you’ve met or signed the contract, if they say they’re out of the
country and can’t show you the place, or ask you to give money to a ‘lawyer’ or
agent on their behalf.
Home Improvement Scams
Rogue door to door contractors is one scam listed among the top 10 scams.
These operators come with unsolicited offers and deals that are too good to be
true. Typical approaches include offers to seal or repave a driveway, or a roofer
who can work with leftover materials from another job. Fraudulent contractors
will use high pressure sales tactics and offers of a one-time deal to entice
consumers. The con artist will generally ask for a down payment and tell you that
they will come back another time to finish the job. After the cash changes hands,
you will probably never see the scumbag again.
Before hiring any contractor, check references to be sure that the person is
legitimate and does quality work. A little vigilance can go a long way, especially if
you’re trying to list your Scottsdale home for sale.
Real estate scams unfortunately are a part of the real estate industry, and often
one rotten apple will taint the rest of the real estate. Remember these and be
wary of potential scams so that you don’t fall victim to them!