How To Spot a Scam When Buying or Selling Real Estate in Fort Myers

How To Spot a Scam When Buying or Selling Real Estate in Fort Myers

As criminals have become adept at developing scams in the real estate industry, including all of the services associated with real estate, the importance of working with a professional buying or selling real estate in Fort Myers has never been of such significance. You can feel secure knowing you are working with trustworthy service providers, through the knowledge your Core Real Estate Properties real estate professional provides.

Being the victim of a real estate scam is not something anyone wants to happen, especially with their real estate transactions. 

We’ll cover four of these areas to help you spot a scam and provide some tips for your protection.

Wire Transfer Instructions

Stop! Don’t click that link! Escrow funds are a target of this trend. If you are contacted to wire the money by any means of communication, especially if there is a change to the original instructions, you can check your original paperwork to ensure the contact information matches.

It’s crucial to exercise caution and verify the authenticity of any instructions received regarding financial transactions, especially when dealing with significant amounts like escrow funds. Scammers often target such transactions by posing as legitimate entities, providing false instructions that lead unsuspecting individuals to transfer funds into fraudulent accounts. This can result in devastating financial losses. Therefore, it’s wise to take proactive steps such as contacting your lender directly to confirm the validity of the instructions before proceeding with any transfers. By doing so, you can ensure that your hard-earned money is protected from falling into the hands of criminals who operate sophisticated scams designed to exploit trust and financial transactions.

Additionally, after transferring the funds as per the verified instructions, it’s prudent to follow up with the settlement agent or relevant parties involved to confirm that the funds have been received as intended. This verification step adds an extra layer of security, ensuring that the funds have reached the correct destination and have been applied appropriately to the intended transaction. By maintaining this vigilance throughout the process, you can mitigate the risk of falling victim to scams and protect yourself from potential financial harm. Ultimately, safeguarding your financial transactions through verification and confirmation helps uphold the integrity of the transaction and provides peace of mind in an environment where financial fraud is unfortunately prevalent.

Refinancing an Existing Mortgage

Predatory lenders persuade homeowners to refinance over and over, known as loan flipping. Often, borrowers end up with no equity left to leverage and high-interest loans they didn’t fully comprehend. It’s usually not a good plan to finance a mortgage within a close time range of another.

A favorite target of this type of scam artist is the older population, most especially those with the added vulnerability memory impairment brings. Lenders are required to provide closing disclosures as well as loan estimates, providing any third-party costs and all fees.  

As a safety gap, any senior conducting business should routinely have transactions of a significant nature reviewed by a trusted family member or friend. Most especially when dealing with financing.

Capitalizing on Your Foreclosure

Facing foreclosure is undeniably one of the most distressing experiences a homeowner can endure. The looming threat of losing one’s home, often the culmination of years of hard work and investment, can evoke feelings of helplessness and desperation. In such vulnerable moments, individuals may grasp at any lifeline, making them susceptible to fraudulent schemes that promise easy solutions. These scams are often cloaked in legitimacy, with perpetrators posing as government agents or reputable financial advisors. They exploit the homeowner’s anxiety by offering quick fixes for a hefty fee, only to disappear once payment is made, leaving behind shattered hopes and exacerbated financial woes.

These fraudulent operations prey on the naivety and urgency of homeowners facing foreclosure. By presenting themselves as trustworthy authorities or experts in mortgage resolution, they deceive vulnerable individuals into believing that they hold the key to salvaging their homes. The exorbitant fees they demand upfront drain the homeowner’s already strained financial resources, pushing them deeper into a precarious situation. What begins as a beacon of hope swiftly transforms into a nightmare of financial exploitation and broken promises. The aftermath leaves affected homeowners not only grappling with the impending loss of their property but also grappling with the harsh reality of having been victimized during a time of dire need. Recognizing these scams and seeking legitimate, accredited assistance from trusted sources are crucial steps in navigating the turbulent waters of foreclosure with caution and diligence.

If they approached you first or don’t want you to speak to your lender, the red flags are waving and this is an alert to find a reputable source of assistance.

Should you find yourself facing foreclosure, first be direct with your lender. Many are willing to work out a solution with modifications, forbearance, or some other arrangement.

Speak to a HUD accredited housing counselor to provide you options as well, they will even attend third party telephone calls with your lender to assist you.

Online or Over the Phone

Should you decide to make a go of renting on your own, there are a few steps you can take to safeguard yourself and spot a scam. Do your research, locate the county records for the owner’s information.

If someone is acting as a representative of the owner, contact the owner and speak or meet with them personally, confirming you are actually dealing with the right person!

If they claim to be a real estate professional, ask to see their license and take a picture of it. All licenses can be confirmed on the state division of real estate licensing website.

Avoid the internet or over the phone transactions, meet in person to sign documents, and make payments whenever possible! Use a check for a record of the transaction as well.

While making our lives easier in many aspects, disreputable schemers have developed a system that uses the internet to their advantage. Inexperienced renters are their favored victims, although they’ll gladly rob anyone of thousands of dollars. 

Often they’ll post photos of houses that aren’t even available and demand upfront fees just to make a viewing appointment. Never pay anything upfront before you know everything about the rental you are interested in here in Fort Myers. 

Avoiding this financial pitfall can be made by working with a real estate professional.

Trust your gut instincts. Your gut is like a second brain without emotions. How did you feel about the initial contact? Be wary of anyone interested in your equity! Reach out to those you know and trust for recommendations if something doesn’t sound right to you!

Don’t click a link or respond to any message that may be from a scammer. Do contact your local police department. Reach out to the FTC on their website to report any fraud, identity theft, or financial scams.

Working with Core Real Estate Properties to buy or sell will remove all doubt and can help you spot a scam when buying or selling real estate in Fort Myers! Call 239-360-3176 or send us a message today!

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