As pandemic restrictions lift all across the nation, more people are looking to move and purchase a new home. They start going online to view listings and find a house that they like the best. There are also people who are looking to refinance their homes to get out of foreclosure as well as renovate their homes. However, scammers take advantage of all these situations and find a way to scam these people out of their hard-earned money. They pretend to be renovation agents, bailout specialists, and realtors so that victims begin to trust them. Then when they least expect it, they steal their victims’ money and run away. Keep scrolling to learn more about the real estate scams to watch out for this summer and how to avoid them.
Real Estate Scams to Watch Out For This Summer
Foreclosure Real Estate Scams
Scammers target people who are at risk of foreclosure in their homes. They are caught in an unfortunate situation where they either need to let their homes foreclose or sell their home. That’s when a scammer steps in and pretends to be a bailout specialist. They claim that they will short sell their home in exchange for a small fee of a few thousand dollars.
They tell their victims to wire transfer this money or send it to them via gift cards or Bitcoin. The victims send the so-called bailout specialist the money, not knowing that they are actually sending money to a scammer. The scammer takes the money and stops all contact with the victims, leaving them with a home that will be foreclosed on them.
Home Renovation Fraud
Salespeople will claim that they can lower their victim’s interest rate on their home in order to provide them with cash to start on home renovations. These victims are then asked to sign contracts at a fast pace without reading them. They end up getting a higher interest rate with no cash to spare on their planned home renovations.
They find out later on that the contract actually read that they would be receiving a higher interest rate when they were promised a lower interest rate and extra cash. They find out they were scammed out of their promised home renovation that they planned.
Rental Scams and Real Estate Scams
Scammers post houses for sale or rent on real estate websites, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and more platforms. They claim that their victims can receive one of these houses easily as long as they provide them with payment upfront. The victims ask to see the houses first, but scammers usually come up with an excuse as to why they can’t.
The most popular excuse that was used in 2020 was due to the coronavirus, they couldn’t see the property in person. The victims then provide the scammers with payment, thinking that they are getting a property. Then once the scammer receives the payment, the scammer stops all contact with the victim. When the victim drives by the property, they found that they were scammed out of thousands of dollars.
Vacation Rental Scams
Scammers post vacation rental properties on websites such as Airbnb, Craigslist, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and more. Victims become interested in renting a property for a few days and contact the scammer for more information. The scammer instructs them to send the payment via wire transfer, Bitcoin, or gift cards in order to secure the property.
When a victim tries to purchase the property through Airbnb, the scammer instructs them not to make the payment through the website and to just send it to them directly instead. This is to avoid being reported and having to give their victims their money back. Once the scammer takes the payment, they stop contact with the victims, leaving them out of a vacation property and their hard-earned money.
How to Avoid These Real Estate Scams
- Don’t share your personal or financial information with anyone that you meet online or over the phone.
- Do your research before working with anyone or any company on your home.
- Only pay for a service after it is done and you can see it in person.
- Don’t pay for a house or a rental home online before seeing it in person.
- Only rent on websites that have good reviews and that you can report a fraudulent listing.
- Make sure to report a scam listing to the website you are using right away for a chance to earn your money back.
- Only make purchases within the trusted website that you are using, don’t pay them outside the website.
- Report any scam that you’ve been a victim of to the FTC in order to receive resources that will help you.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You!
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with if you think you’ve been a victim of real estate scams.