protect yourself from real estate scams

How To Protect Yourself From Real Estate Scams

How to Protect Yourself from real estate scams

Real estate scams are becoming more rampant, and there is a need for you to stay vigilant and not fall into the traps of real estate scammers. They can scam anyone, and it’s the funniest thing you will ever read today.

Recently, the F.B.I. even disclosed that real estate transactions are a growing target of wire fraud. In this article, we shared some excellent and easy ways to fight back with the help of Atrium forensics, a fund recovery company based in Australia. To better help you understand how this scam operates, we shared a recent story of someone who almost got scammed by these real estate scams.

Justin Rubinstein had a license as an associate real estate broker at Compass. He was working to close on a one-bedroom condo on the Williamsburg waterfront in June of 2016 with a buyer. As they were finalizing the deal, the client gets an email — supposedly from his lawyer — providing precise instructions of where to wire a $214,500 down payment.

Almost immediately after sending the money, the client realized that the wiring instructions were not from his lawyer. Instead, a scammer was sending the email, and he was a victim of wire fraud. But, the client was lucky. He informs his bank to freeze the account before the banks did the transfer immediately.

“The criminals operating were able to hack into the attorney’s email and monitoring their account, following deals closely,” Mr. Rubinstein says. “When it was time to send a wire for the down payment, they intercepted the email. They sent fraudulent wire instructions to the buyer.”

How does the scammer operate?

The real estate industry is moving at a fast-pace. As a result, people share emails with very sensitive financial information with little or no face-to-face interaction. These scammers now have a sophisticated wire fraud scheme. They hack into and closely monitor the email exchanges of the parties involved in the real estate transactions.

At the 11th hour, scammers can pretend to be participants and ask that the buyer wires down payment funds to fraudulent bank accounts. Since they spend weeks intercepting personal information, they can customize and craft extremely compelling email requests.

“Many players participate in these transactions,” James Abbott, a supervisory special agent for the F.B.I.’s criminal investigative division, says. “It can be the real estate agent or the real estate lawyer, an escrow company, buyer, and even the seller — there are a lot of potential targets.”

Some steps to recover your money from a real estate scam

Once you realize that you are a fraudulent transfer victim, it is crucial to act immediately. Quickly contact your financial institution and ask for a recall of funds. If you use a money transfer company, like Western Union or MoneyGram, call their complaint line right away. Better still, visit any effective fund recovery company like Atrium Forensics to help you quickly recover your lost fund either in Bitcoin or wire transfer.

You can as well, contact your local police office to file an official report with law enforcement. You can at least file an online complaint with the bureau’s internet crime complaint center. If your bank needs a police report, use a copy” of the online complaint.

If you prefer to fight back and be in control, you can hire a recovery expert like Atrium forensics to help you recover stolen funds. Visit their website to learn more about this process –

Read Also: How to Recover Stolen Cryptocurrency


Types of Real Estate Scams and how to avoid them

The real estate business has become the primary target for scams, from real estate seminar scams to wire payment fraud. Homeowners have lost billions of dollars per year from various real estate scams. Yes, there are many types of real estate scams that even become four-direction threats. Since they may differ from each other, there are also different ways to avoid them.
These are some common real estate scams you need to know and tips to avoid them for good.

Investment Scams

Investment scam is a popular type of real estate scams with a massive number of victims. This type of real estate scam happens in two ways: lending scams and condition scams.
Lending scams refer to alternative mortgage loans. Lenders with no license provide the loans using private funding. This type of loan comes with high-trapping lending fees, which is usually unclear upfront. Condition scams refer to real estate scams where the agent appraises the property’s value at a much higher value than its condition. Agents typically do this because buyers are in the distance and unable to visit/check the property in person.

How To Avoid:

When it comes to real estate investment scams or lending scams, you need to reference a lender. If you want to pick one on your own, choose someone you can meet in person for a thorough interview. Whenever you want to use an online lending service, choose the reputable one. And do your research on the site and the local listing service.
On the other hand, buying properties without checking the physical condition isn’t advisable. At least, you need to hire a trusted appraiser to inspect and value the property you want to buy as the second opinion.

Payment Fraud

Another typical real estate scam is payment fraud, where the real estate agent scams take a role as an escrow company and send you faulty instructions to make a payment over real estate to their account. They’re real estate impostors of established agencies or brokers. Today, these fraudsters fake up websites of reputable brokers, real estate companies, and other property dealers.
They may also use a copycat email and phone number to personally contact and convince you with impressive real estate buy your house scam offers. You may need to transfer typically for down payment following their instruction. They’d get you if you follow the instructions and transfer the fund. In other cases, some fraudsters are even able to intercept communication between buyer and seller, so instead of moving money to the agency/seller, you’re sending the fund to the fraudster’s account.

How To Avoid:

Real Estate payment fraud and Meier real estate scam can be very convincing and strike accurately. At this point, you should always verify all payment instructions by referring to the written documents.

Read also: Cryptocurrency Fraud – How it happens and how to fight it.

Loan Refinance Scam

Mortgage lenders mostly play this kind of real estate deed scams. They would typically drive homeowners to refinance their home credit and to take other principles. Each time the homeowner refinancing their mortgage, they’d usually become a borrower, and these predator lenders would charge high interest and fees to trap them with high loan payments. Once you get scammed with this scheme, it strikes your finance, and you’d hardly come out from the trap.

How to avoid:

Once you’ve completed refinancing your mortgage, there’s no need to make another batch anyway. If you have no specific requirement to refinance your mortgage, it’s unnecessary to take a new one. On the other hand, if you need to refinance your credit, always use reputable lenders or banks only. Ensure that you have all essential information, including fees, interest, penalties, and so forth. Read all written documents and seek clarity on anything that bothers your mind.

Mortgage Relief Scam

Mortgage payments can be challenging for many people’s finances after a while. Indeed, many of them resort to desperate measures to keep their property. Scammers look at the database and start offering mortgage relief to take advantage of this condition. Scammers would claim themselves as the government-affiliated officer and such fake mortgage relief programs. They’d then charge thousands of dollars for processing fees that they’re tricking the homeowners. While it looks convincing, it’s easy to recognize these real estate scams in 2019 for sure. These scammers would prohibit you from calling your current lender for whatever reason.

How to avoid :

Mortgage relief scammers are everywhere and appear to be a solution to your current mortgage, but they’re not. If you’re facing financial difficulties in paying your mortgage, it’s wiser to discuss it with your loan officer and take the counseling session with them. You can request a rollover whenever it’s suitable for your financial condition now and in the future.

Rental Scams

It’s not only property owners, but renters have also become the target of scammers. They usually put fake property rental listings on social media platforms or local listing sites. As expected, they don’t have property or connection to the actual owner or real estate agency. They lure you with cheap rent prices and other services but require you with a down payment as a deposit before you can visit the property. Once you’ve transferred the money, you’d be unable to contact them anymore, and they’re vanishing.

How to Avoid:

Whenever you’re looking for a property to rent, don’t pay anything before you can visit the property and check the paperwork in person. Use the local appraiser and trusted website only to help you find a legit option. If you find the listing online, you can search the image reversely(searching by image) to see whether it’s an original listing or a copycat.


You should know that real estate investor scams come in various forms and modes. People are generally falling into scams as they can’t take some time to check details and question offers. It’s always advisable to check the real property and documents in person before making any payment. You can make use of our tips above to avoid different types of real estate scams targeting your hard-earned money.

Are you a recent victim of real estate scam and need professional help?

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