4 real estate scams that could frighten any of us

Our teams are all about treats, and we don’t mind a few good-natured scares. With that being said, it’s important to remind us all that there are always bad actors lurking, ready to try to trick our partners and customers.

The best way to fight these fraudsters is to bring their scary actions into the light, so make sure these are always on your radar.

Wire fraud. This is the scam we’ve been talking about for years. Cybercriminals hack the email account of anyone involved in the real estate transaction and then try to convince a buyer to send their funds to a new account at the last minute. It’s why it’s important we tell our customers that last-minute changes to how the money will be transferred are very rare and always to be suspicious if a request is made. If something seems off, it probably is.

Fake sellers. Seller impersonation schemes have been the scam of the year so far in 2023. They are exactly what they sound like: Scammers trying to sell property that never belonged to them in the first place. Vacant land, vacation homes, and similar properties are perfect targets for this fraud.

Foreclosure-related bad actors. Foreclosures are back on the rise, so it’s important we highlight this one right now. Since foreclosure activity is public record, it’s easy for these fraudsters to identify potential targets and pounce. People should be wary of unsolicited offers of help, and should only work with their servicer and government-approved agencies. Red flags for these schemes include demands not to talk to your lender about the service offered and requests for large, upfront payments before your file is resolved or even examined.

Moving scams. Let’s get this sentence out of the way first.There will be costs associated with moving, and professional movers are often worth the investment. However, scammers have found ways to infiltrate this part of the journey with bait-and-switch tactics regarding price, simply taking your money, but not showing up, and more. Protect yourself by checking your local BBB, asking for a referral or recommendation, or only using reputable companies. Legitimate movers should be able to provide you with an official license number too.

We hope this piece is a good reminder that there are a handful of shady characters out there  who are pretending to be someone they are not – and not just on one night of the year. However, we’re always here to help you feel more safe and secure. As always, if something feels suspicious, it probably is.

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