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Real Estate Scams and Investment Fraud

Real Estate Investment Scams, Cons & Frauds

Real Estate Scams

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.

Foreclosure Fraud

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).

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