Beware of Real Estate Scams


You're just about to close escrow on your new home and need to wire in the funds to close. Unfortunately, scammers can find out about your transaction and email you fake wire instructions, pretending to be the Title or Escrow company. To prevent this, always physically call the Escrow company to confirm the exact wiring instructions.


Scammers will post property rentals on social media sites, using the photos from recently closed sales. The rental price is usually significantly lower than market value. The "landlord" will state that they are out of town and unable to show the property, but they will ask for an upfront payment in order to hold the property. As soon as you wire in the payment, they're gone. Be wary of anyone asking for money up front. Verify who the actual owner is. I can help you with this.


Although there are legitimate companies who will buy your home for cash (usually to flip), scammers will frequently post signs around town, looking for desperate sellers (we've all seen them on freeway exits!). When a seller calls, the scammer will promise the seller a quick cash sale at an attractive price, and convinces the homeowner to sign over the deed to the home early, promising a rapid mortgage payout. Once the deed is signed over, the scammer now has control of the property.

Artifical Intelligence Scams

Above, I identified three common real estate scams. Now, cybercrimals are using AI to create even more convincing scams using fake emails, texts, voicemails, videos, photos, and websites to steal sensitive information and trick targets into responding. AI is being used to impersonate agents,landlords, lenders, or consumers. The goal, often, is to urgently convince consumers to make a payment on real estate that doesn't exist. Cybercriminals are also using AI writing tools to craft well-written fake emails with wiring change instructions that divert a victim's entire down payment to the scammer's account.

Unfortunately, we need to question everything in this new era where computers create content impossible to distinguish from human-made. Be extremely conscious of this when reviewing emails, texts, and phone calls -- especially when the transferring of money is concerned. Always call your agent or the escrow officer that you've been working with to confirm any requests for sensitive information or wire transfers.

The good news is that there are more and more systems and software being used now to help detect AI fraud, and between that and consumer awareness, it's very likely that your real estate transaction will be safe and secure. 

Bottom line, be vigilant, use your head, and trust your gut!


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