International Scammers find homes listed for
sale on public search sites, copy the pictures
and listing information, and then post the information
onto Craigslist in the "Homes for Rent
or Lease" section.
Individuals contact the poster for more information
on the "rental home". The scammer
is likely to be from a non-US country such as
Nigeria UK, South Africa, Ukraine or other.
The scammer will state that they had to leave
the country very quickly to do missionary work
in Africa and were unable to lease their home
before having to leave, therefore they have
to take care of this transaction remotely. The
fraudulent "homeowner" sends the interested
renter an application and tells them to send
the first and last month's rent to the scammer
via Western Union and they are told they that
once they application has been approved they
will send the key. The "renter", of
course, never receives the key and has no way
of retreiving his/her money.
Homeowners who are having problems paying their
mortgage are approached by someone who claims
to be a mortgage consultant or a foreclosure
service. The scammer offers services to help
the troubled homeowner and convinces the home
owner to transfer the title or deed to them.
Their sales pitch may be something such as "I
can save your credit!" or "Refinance
your Home". The scammer will convince the
owner that the Mortgager or Refinancer now carries
the debt and the homeowner will need to pay
the mortgage payments directly to them. In some
cases, the "mortgage consultant" will
try to collect a fee before they assist the
homeowner. In the worst cases, the scammer may
also obtain a second loan on the property, take
the money and leave town. They may even rent
out the home and force the homeowner to be evicted.
And since the ownership may have been transferred
to the scammer, the homeowner still owes the
monthly mortgage payments to the bank.
To File a complaint:
If you have been a victim of a real estate
scam or suspect an individual or business is
engaging in real estate fraud, contact the Federal
Trade Commission (FTC). You can also report
tips to the Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI).