No one wants to find themselves in this kind of situation: the victim of fraud, theft, manipulation. But unfortunately scammers are out there, and able to take advantage of unsuspecting people. Real estate scammers are among the biggest problem in today’s market. Let’s take a look at some of the scams you may have paid into and what you can do to protect yourself from it again in the future.
The first is renting empty homes. A scammer may find an empty home, which is still owned by someone else, and rent it out to an unsuspecting person. The renter will send money then later find out they had been scammed into paying for a space that is already owned by someone else.
The next is renting foreclosed homes. A common foreclosure scam involves a fake agent taking unsuspecting couples on a tour through a burglarized home. The “agent” offers a fake email address and out-of-service telephone number after payment and the family never hears from him/her again.
Another common real estate scam is renting unavailable apartments to out of town renters. Some renters look for spaces to live for a few weeks while they are on vacation or in town on business. The fake agent will ask renters to wire money directly to them. When the renter shows up, they find out the property isn’t really for rent, and they have nowhere to stay.
To avoid these situations, there are a few things to remember:
1) If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
2) Do your homework, and work with a real estate agent to protect yourself from crime.
3) Check online reviews of agents before committing.
4) Avoid using cash or wiring money, and instead, use a traceable form of payment such as checks or credit cards.
Use these tips to protect yourself from real estate crime and scams.
If you are a victim of a real estate scam, there is help. Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney, that can help you make the most of a difficult situation. Contact him at 813-549-0096.