They use highly trafficked real estate websites and hijack the listings taking all the data and photos then put a “Can’t live without it price” on them. Their hopes are a vulnerable person will bite. They have a couple of purposes and they intend to use you and take your money. They want to work fast so they have you call a number in the ad. Since the property is such a deal and priced below market they create a sense of urgency saying there are many others looking at the property.If you were working with an agent, the agent would know how to help you.
It is at this point that they will ask you to send money sight unseen to hold the property. Of course it would have to be wired usually through Western Union so it will hold the property just for you. This way the scammer can’t be tracked. If you agree to do this they will set an appointment to meet you at the property later to finish up the paperwork or promise to send keys. Of course they will never show because they have the money and you have been scammed.
The other thing they may do is ask you to fill out a credit application which will have all your private information including your Social Security number. Since the property is not theirs to sell or rent they will only be using this information to steal your identity. A lot of damage can be done in a very short period of time and they may even be the middle man and selling it to someone else. If you had called an agent, you would not be experiencing this as an agent knows how to help you.
Regardless what these scammers ask from you their intent is to harm you and get their hands on your money. Beware of Listings Being Hijacked on Trulia and Craigslist. Do not do business over the phone without seeing the property. Make sure the person you meet is the rightful owner or property manager in charge of the property. Make sure the signs on the property match up with the person you called. Use due diligence and don’t be swayed by a bargain price that is most likely untrue.
The very best advice is to use a real estate agent to help you find a home. Licensed agents will investigate and can smell these scams and sense something is not right. You need representation and when an agent is hired they have an obligation to look out for your interests. Let the agent do the looking and find the properties that are right for you.
Beware of Listings Being Hijacked on Trulia and Craigslist.
Debbie Reynolds is a Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent working at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty. For help with real estate in Clarksville TN check out this website.
Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net.