If you are moving to a new city for work or just looking for a quick vacation getaway, you need to be aware of a potential danger: real estate scams. Scammers are waiting to take advantage of you, especially if you are a newcomer to the area and don't have anyone to trust. Here is what you need to know about real estate scams and how you can avoid becoming a victim of financial fraud.
Some of the most common types of real estate scams include:
Some scammers may advertise rentals that do not exist or are not available. In other situations, a scammer may take pictures and profile information from a property that belongs to someone else and pass it off as their own. The goal is to get you to pay for a rental that does not exist or hand over your personal information to steal your identity.
Some red flags of a rental listing scam include:
In a collective real estate investment scam, fraudsters convince a group of people to pool their money and purchase an investment property. However, the fraudsters simply run off with the money and offer nothing in return.
Fraudsters may set up a variety of corporations and move the properties through them so that the original owners wind up losing their investment in the property unbeknownst to them, as happened in the case of Phuket.
In light of the COVID-19 crisis, relief package phishing scams are more prevalent. You may receive an email that says it is from your landlord or a government agency that promises to provide you rental relief – if you fill out an application or otherwise give away your personal information to the scammer.
While such relief programs are available in some locales, you will not receive such communications unsolicited. Avoid this scam by reaching out to your landlord or local housing authority to learn about available options and to proactively request assistance.
There are certain warning signs that may pop up with these types of scams. Avoid becoming the latest victim of financial fraud by carefully vetting any real estate options for the following red flags:
By being aware of these common tactics can help you avoid becoming the next victim of financial fraud.
About the author: David Lukić is an information privacy, security and compliance consultant at IDstrong.com. The passion to make cyber security accessible and interesting has led David to share all the knowledge he has.