Tuesday, March 23, 2021 / by Randy Durham
What it is: A common scam I’ve seen is scammers taking an active listing with the MLS and posting it for rent. They often ask for money upfront as a security deposit and disappear once you send them the payment. Facebook and Craigslist are common sites used by these scammers.
How to protect yourself: If you are looking for rentals, one way to protect yourself is to ask for further pictures and request a showing in person.
How to report: Contact the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center
2. Wire transfers: Wire fraud is becoming increasingly common and is one of the top five types of fraud tracked by the FBI. Cybercriminals identify a pending home sale and then gather information on the transaction parties. After they are able to hack into a party’s email, they send false wiring instructions that divert deposits, mortgage payoffs, closing costs, and mortgage payoff funds from the rightful recipients.
How to protect yourself: Use a reputable title company and refrain from email when dealing with wiring instructions. Refuse any wiring requests unless they are conducted by a phone call. Confirm all of the wiring instructions and account details over the phone before transferring any funds. If there is a change of plans, confirm details with the title company. Ask your bank to confirm the account number, name, and location before sending the wire. Call the title company and inform them of the wire being sent and its amount.
How to report: File a complaint. The quicker you act, the higher the chances are of getting your money back.
2. Equity Scams: Someone offers to pay your delinquent mortgage by purchasing your home and you stay as a renter. The buyer then cashes out and disappears. Don’t confuse this with wholesaling. Wholesalers will take over the mortgage payments and is often used for distressed property owners to avoid foreclosure. Owners do not continue to occupy the property.
How to protect yourself: If you are struggling with your mortgage payment, contact your lender, a certified HUD counselor, or a Housing Finance Agency.
3. Moving Fraud: Movers provide an estimate or require a deposit upfront, load the belongings, and then demand a higher price in exchange for unloading the items in your new house.
How to protect yourself: Make sure the moving company is insured and don’t make any upfront payments.
How to report: If you are moving across state lines, contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. If you are staying in the state, contact your local regulatory authority. The contact info for Georgia and Tennessee is listed below.
Georgia Department of Public Safety Motor Carrier Compliance Division (MCCD) Regulatory Compliance Section
Address: 959 East Confederate Avenue
Phone: (404) 624-7243
Department of Commerce and Insurance, Division of Consumer Affairs