Our experienced legal team at Purdy & Bailey, LLP has helped countless clients who have come to us after being scammed in a real estate deal, and we are familiar with the signs that buyers need to keep an eye out for if they want to ensure they aren’t taken advantage of by sellers. Criminals can be very creative with the ways they try to dupe consumers, so lookout for the following scams if you’re in the market for a new property.
Escrow Wire Fraud
Criminals create fake websites that look identical to legitimate title and lending companies. These websites feature clickable links, contact information, and other images that make it appear official. However, if you look closely you’ll notice slight errors and missing numbers. Fraudsters will email buyers and give them instructions to wire escrow funds using links to the fake website. The scammers then withdraw the funds from an offshore account and you lose your hard-earned money. If you receive an email like this, make sure you confirm the escrow account number before wiring any money.
Loan flipping occurs when predatory lenders convince homeowners that they should keep refinancing their mortgage over and over. This scam requires the target to keep borrowing money that accumulates high fees and interest with each transaction. Eventually the homeowner is left with an insanely high loan payment they simply can’t afford because they have exhausted the equity of the home due to over-borrowing.
Criminals post ads for available rental properties they have no connection to on websites like Craigslist and Zillow. The ads usually look legitimate because scammers tend to re-use photos of various properties from other listings. The scammer will ask for you to pay a deposit fee in order to view the property, but the truth is, they are just going to take your money. According to a 2018 survey from ApartmentList, 5.2 million renters in the U.S say they have lost money from rental fraud. One in three respondents said they lost more than $1,000 on a fake rental property.
Legal Assistance for Your Real Estate Deal
Our lawyers are here to help you face any obstacles you encounter during your real estate deal. We know how to identify the common signs of real estate fraud, and we will use our extensive resources to protect your best interests. Speak with our real estate litigation attorney today to find out what we can do to serve you.
Call (858) 360-7080 to schedule your free case evaluation with a lawyer at Purdy & Bailey, LLP.