By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

The internet can be both an ally and an adversary to today’s home seller. When it comes to scams and cons, homeowners are easy prey for professional criminals.

Let’s face it. When selling real estate, you are inviting strangers into your home. Figuratively with online photos, maps, and more. And literally when they come to view your property. You and your home are exposed for the world to see.

Being aware of the scams aimed at sellers is the first step to stopping them in their tracks. These are some of the most popular swindles I’ve heard about in the past year:

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scammersLydia Blair
Special Contributor

When you’re buying a home, the last thing you want to think about is criminals and scammers. Unfortunately, as a homebuyer, you are a major (and often easy) target for criminal types. With thousands of unwitting victims every year, it is a lucrative business for crooks.

Maybe homebuyers should be afraid. Be very afraid. But perhaps it’s better to say, “Be aware.” Be vigilant. Be cautious.

Here are the five most common rip-offs I’ve heard about in the past year. (more…)

fraud

(Illustration courtesy Pixabay)

When my husband and I closed on our newest home in December, I remember vividly the flurry of emails between the lender, the title company, our Realtor, and more. It seemed like daily — and especially as the closing date drew nearer, hourly — there was some new form that would need to be signed, or some new update on the process.

So when I heard last week of a family in Frisco (who declined to be named for this story) who showed up at closing thinking they had already paid their down payment, only to find that the emailed instructions they got were a fraud, it didn’t sound improbable.

You get a lot of emails. And if one came from what appeared to be a title company or a lender and you had never bought a home before (or hadn’t purchased one in a while) you might take a request to wire your down payment as some kind of new, modern way to do it.

Only, it’s not. And this family showed up at closing and were surprised when they were asked for the customary check for the down payment. It was literally the first time they knew that the thousands of dollars they had saved were gone forever. (more…)

scam

(Illustration courtesy Pixabay)

Every so often, I’ll get tipped about a listing in Dallas that seems too good to be true — a scam, some might say. Sometimes you get photos of the inside, and immediately understand why the Realtor or owner chose a bargain price.

Other times, you know immediately it’s a scam. And that’s what happened Friday when someone mentioned a three-bedroom, two-bath listing near Knox-Henderson that had been priced at $34,000.

Now, we’ve done this before, and by now most CandysDirt.com readers know we have zero reticence about engaging with folks that are probably up to no good. A few years ago we did just that when a property owner found her rental listing duplicated, with the new listing offering the house in Highland Park for a ridiculously low $1,000 a month.

Now, I’d love to send you to the actual listing, but after being alerted by the actual property owner (more on that in a minute), Zillow pulled the fraudulent listing down. However, knowing this would probably be the case, I grabbed screenshots. (more…)