Avoid these common real estate scams

Hunter Boyce, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Business News

From buying to renting to selling, real estate scams can target landlords and local residents in many situations. It’s a criminal practice that can seriously damage your wallet, credit and peace of mind.

Wire scams

According to, one of the common real estate fake-outs is the wire scam.

“This is basically a scam where someone pretends to be your real estate agent by hacking into or copying their contact information and calling you to deposit good-faith money or an earnest deposit into a fake bank account,” Ron Wysocarski, a real estate broker based in Port Orange, FL, told

Before fulfilling any money transfer requests, Wysocarski said it is important to meet your real estate agent face to face to ensure everything is on the up and up.

Foreclosure relief scams

For those on the brink of losing their homes, not all financial relief opportunities are legitimate.

In foreclosure relief scams, scammers target individuals on the brink of losing their homes, Rocket Mortgage reported. A fake company will reach out to the victim with promises that it can stop the foreclosure or modify a loan in exchange for payment. It’s a scam.

To avoid the scam, Rocket Mortgage said that you should never pay for a service before it has been completed. The company also suggested researching the individual or company that is promising to help you.


Fake listing scams

Another popular scheme is the fake listing scam, according to Bank Rate. Scammers will post fake property listings on Craigslist, social media or any other platform that interested buyers may wander onto. While the photos they use may be from real listings, their offers are anything but.

The scammers will usually ask for an upfront payment to allow you to visit the listed property. Be suspicious of anyone that asks for upfront deposits to see a property.

“Avoid doing transactions via email or on the phone,” Nicole Durosko of Warburg Realty told Bank Rate. “It’s best to be face-to-face to confirm the property ownership, sign any required documentation and make a payment.”

‘We buy homes!’ scams

Somewhere along the road in your travels, you have likely seen a flier that advertises a business or individual willing to buy your house. More often than not, according to Finance Buzz, it’s a scam.

The scam usually promises homeowners quick cash for their houses. To convince you to sign over your deed to them early, they will promise a fast payout. However, the scammers will have control over your property once the deed has been signed over — still leaving you on the hook for the monthly mortgage payments.

Finance Buzz reported that it’s important to pay attention to the details to avoid these scams. It is unlikely that a legitimate business is advertising their services on a cheaply printed flier placed on the side of a road or ask you to sign partially blank or complicated documents.

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