Are you moving this year? Don’t let a scam ruin the experience for you. Whether you are planning on renting or purchasing a home there are some unscrupulous people who are looking to separate you from your money. We all seem to get those phone calls claiming that if we don’t pay up the police will be at our door with a warrant, or a friend or family member is supposedly stranded somewhere and need money to get home.
When it comes to Real Estate you also need to be aware. It is up to you to do your due diligence prior to handing over any funds. Finding the right rental can be a challenging process. Even more complicated if your credit is not great, you have pets or a tight budget.
Unfortunately there are some deceitful people who wish to separate you from your funds and you need to be aware. If it seems to good to be true it probably is. If you are not using a Realtor then Craigslist and Facebook marketplace are a good place to find rentals but also a good place for scammers to hang out. They take a property that might be on the market for sale and steal the pictures and write ups and list it for rent. They might ask you to transfer a deposit to hold the rental, because it is such a good deal. Do your own research to make sure you are dealing with the appropriate person, check the town records to see who owns the property, see if it is listed for sale.
If you are in the market to purchase your next home there could be scammers looking for you. One current scam could happen when you receive a request to transfer money. As your closing date approaches and you are getting ready to complete a wire transfer of the funds, the bank usually gives you detailed instructions. They might send you updates and reminders to complete the transfer, there might also be some last minute changes. Sometimes these changes can be an attempt to defraud you of your hard earned money. They could be hoping that you let your guard down and transfer your balance to their account instead of the appropriate one. If you fall victim to one of these scams it can be quite difficult to get your funds back and you might not be able to close on your next home. Wiring funds might not be common in your area, but that could vary depending on your circumstances. Most real estate brokers will address this early in the process and might have a waiver for you to review and acknowledge. You should not trust wiring instructions sent via email and should always confirm instructions with the appropriate recipient either in person or through a trusted phone number. It is worth the effort to double check that everything is valid.
On a last note, buying or renting a home often requires good credit. Keep an eye on your credit cards and other accounts. Set up text alerts on purchases and review your accounts regularly. There seems to be an increase in fraudulent credit card purchases. Scammers are getting smarter and might start out with small charges, potentially testing to see if the number is working. The credit card companies are generally good with dealing with fraudulent charges but the sooner they or you catch them the better.
When it comes to your financial welfare you need to be alert as it is better to be proactive rather than reactive. If you are considering a real estate transaction in the near future, please contact me, Sandra Visser, for a consultation. I have a network of realtors throughout the United States and Canada and I can also connect you with a qualified real estate professional to best assist you in your area.