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New Resource: Federal Trade Commission Offers Helpful Tips to Consumers to Avoid Rental Scams
Being savvy when you’re in search of a rental is well worth the effort. Click here for tips from the FTC.
MIBOR Sees Spike in Calls Related to Real Estate Scams
In recent months, MIBOR has received an increasing number of calls from members who receive leads from websites from buyers who are attempting to purchase properties sight unseen. It is extremely important that you exercise due diligence with these leads as it is strongly suspected that they might be scams. The simple fact that they want to purchase sight unseen is not in and of itself the determining factor. You should look at the entire scenario. The typical story is as follows:
These buyers are “fishing”, sending many emails to REALTORS® with stories such as intending to retire in Indiana. It is suspected that the intent of these scammers is for you or the attorney to deposit a check into an escrow account, possibly walk away from the transaction, and have the money refunded to them. If the check wasn’t good to start with, then it is possible that the attorney or company writing the check might be out the funds. In addition, it is suspected that the scammer may be trying to access the attorney’s escrow account.
Be aware that these scams have been occurring on and off for the past several years. Please continue to report them to MIBOR so that we can track them for patterns and post information on the Welcome Screen. Knowing that there are legitimate buyers from outside of the country, we will post names only if we receive multiple reports on the same individual.
MIBOR contact information: Jeanette Langford (317-956-5241) or Jamie Jansen (317-956-5244).
Update (11/7/14): WRTV-6 recently reached out to us to participate in a story on this topic. See the report here.
What Should You Do?
Tips From REALTOR.com
REALTOR.com provides a great resource on this topic for both REALTORS® and consumers. Check out their tips to protect yourself, http://www.realtor.com/rentals/onlinefraudalert
Work with a local REALTOR®
Working with a local REALTOR® is one of the best ways to avoid becoming the victim of a rental scam. They have access to the most up-to-date listings and are committed to upholding the Code of Ethics of the National Association of REALTORS®. Let a local REALTOR® help you avoid a rental scam and guide you to the perfect housing option.
REALTORS®: Here is a video from NAR about protecting your listings: http://bcove.me/6l6rn6tt