Half million dollar house in Salinas, California under foreclosure. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
3 Real Estate Scams And How To Avoid Them
One of the attendees during the May AARP conference shared her experience on how she had been conned by a fake company posing as a state affiliated housing agency. The victim was left at least 5 figures poorer after coughing up a whooping ten thousand dollars to the fraudsters. Well, this is a common experience shared by many people who fall prey to these criminals.
These scams have become so popular and so sophisticated that even though consumers are aware of them, they just have no idea how to avoid them. The three most common scams include loan modification scams, rental scams and workshop scams.
Loan modification scams- millions of Americans are now facing foreclosure and almost ten million of them are still struggling with paying their mortgage. Fraudsters are now targeting this vulnerable group to make easy cash. They give fake foreclosure counseling, loan auditing, leaseback programs, non existence mass rejoinder and fraudulent government modification programs all of which are fake. Often, they will call with fake identities promising to help with all foreclosure related services and will ask for upfront fees to tackle the issue. Once the money has been remitted, they will never show up and you will never hear from them.
Rental scams- Almost 90% of people looking for houses to buy do so over the internet. Scammers have also taken advantage of listing data on the net to con unsuspecting victims. They do this by illegally pulling online listing then repost them as their own to woe victims. Just like in any other scam, they pose as agents and ask for upfront fees as security deposit. Sometimes they pose as your friends so that you can wire the cash to them just to prove you have money.
Workshop scams- these are get rich quick scams which were quite common during the housing bubble days. In this case someone would pose as an investment guru and hold seminars which they promote online. Of course you will sign up for the course and pay attendance fee only for the seminar never to be.
How to avoid these scams
Always do your homework and take time to ascertain the authenticity of all the information being presented to you. Review government websites for recommendations and cross check the listings, tips and recommendations. Avoid using cash and instead use credit cards which can allow you to put a claim or track the money. Sieve all calls and be wary of those callers who ask you to send money as deposit fee. When it comes to real estate, always use your brain when making judgments and not your emotions.