Common Forms of Property Fraud and Ways to Avoid Them

Many consider real estate as a safe investment. While it’s true, it can also be a breeding ground for people who want to take advantage of unsuspecting buyers.

Like con artists, they deceive others with deals that are too good to be true. And, oftentimes, unsuspecting investors take the bait. Keep yourself from getting tricked by familiarizing yourself with their usual schemes. Set up your property fraud alert, and learn some of its most common forms.

Title Fraud

A criminal will steal the title and personal information of a landowner and assume ownership of the real estate. Upon succeeding, they’ll look for buyers or get a loan against it. Once the transaction is completed, the swindler will take off with the money, leaving the victim in debt.

Foreclosure Fraud

Scammers will approach property owners with issues regarding their mortgage payments. They’ll offer a lower monthly cost schedule and amalgamation loans for the transfer of the title to the lender.

Unfortunately, these swindlers go behind the property owner’s back to contact buyers with a seemingly profitable purchase price. The title will be in their name, and they’ll advertise the estate as a foreclosed one.

Duplicated Listing

In this type of scam, criminals pose as real estate agents. They copy their target’s rental listing from the site where it was originally posted and then republish the ad under their name on another platform. Once they have a potential tenant, they’ll present fake documents, offer the rent at a lower cost, and ask for a security deposit. Some buyers will wire the money overnight only to find out that the transaction is false.

How to Avoid Them

One way to avoid these schemes is to get title insurance. This will help secure your real estate from infringement issues. It’ll also safeguard you from the financial loss due to claims, encumbrances, and problems in the actual ownership of your property.

You can keep yourself safe by protecting your identity. Be mindful of your personal data other people may gain access to like your social security number. Secure it in a deposit box or hidden compartment.

When creating listings, put a watermark on every image. You can also search your address on the internet to check whether your ads have been duplicated on other property rental websites.

Also, make sure that you work with reputable agents and lawyers. They’ll help you confirm the authenticity of the real estate you’re eyeing and may even serve as the mediator between you and the seller.

These are some of the most common schemes you may encounter as a homeowner. Remember that when it comes to property fraud prevention is necessary, so arm yourself with the tips to avoid getting duped by these swindlers.

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