Watching out for real estate scams is frequently last on many people’s lists when purchasing or selling a home. They are more concerned with ensuring that the pricing is fair, that things run well, and that the entire process is completed promptly. Scams do occur, though, and all homeowners should be aware of them in order to protect themselves. Here are three real estate frauds that Massachusetts or Connecticut residents should be wary of:
ESCROW WIRE FRAUD
You receive an email from the “title company” with instructions on where to wire the escrow money after everything seems to be going smoothly with your Massachusetts or Connecticut home purchase.
Unfortunately, even though the website you are directed to seems legitimate, it is not. The con artists have created a fake website that closely resembles the one that is managed by your title firm. This website’s objective is to gather your financial and personal data so that it can be used to steal both your identity and your money.
After you enter your banking information, the con artists transfer your funds to an offshore account and live a luxurious lifestyle with them. And your options for getting it back are limited.
Any communications with your title company should be regarded with suspicion in order to safeguard yourself against escrow wire fraud. Call your title company directly and inquire as to whether the email was sent to you by them before clicking any links in an email that may try to steal your personal information or request that you enter your financial information.
A little extra time spent calling your title company can protect you from escrow wire fraud and other real estate scams.
One of the most prevalent real estate frauds is loan flipping, in which predatory lenders repeatedly persuade homeowners to refinance their loans.
These lenders persuade homeowners to refinance their loans several times, frequently at exorbitant fees, points, and other costs, driving up the monthly payments dramatically. The likelihood of default and foreclosure rises as a result of these payments, which quickly add up to amounts the homeowner cannot afford.
As the predatory lender relies on the elderly person’s inability to completely recall the specifics, this scam usually targets the elderly, especially those who have memory problems. These loans are typically presented as a tool to assist the Massachusetts or Connecticut homeowner in funding upgrades and repairs required to age in place.
It’s usually a fraud if a lender contacts you or a loved one and offers to “refinance.” Work exclusively with lenders you contact yourself and whose reputation you know, rather than choosing someone who approaches you and asks for your business.
Massachusetts or Connecticut Real estate scams are frequent for homeowners who have fallen on hard times and are in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure.
Scammers break into pre-foreclosure house data, swoop in, and contact the homeowners with false promises of assistance in preventing foreclosure. These con artists claim to be able to stop foreclosures in exchange for large upfront payments, frequently leaving the homeowner in a worse financial situation than before.
Sometimes, these scammers pose as members of government agencies to gain credibility.
Working directly with your lender to see if you can place your loan in forbearance or take other steps to assist you prevent foreclosure will help you avoid this kind of fraud. You can also look for a HUD-accredited housing counsellor on your own, who can assist you in negotiating a solution with your lender.
Again, the best course of action to guard against real estate scams is to be suspicious of anyone who approaches you without your asking for information.
Help Protecting You from Real Estate Scams
Regrettably, as con artists’ techniques advance, real estate scams are popping up more frequently. Call our office at 413-455-0008 if you’re unsure if you’ve fallen victim to one of these or any other Massachusetts or Connecticut real estate frauds.