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Identifying and Avoiding Scam Listings - Red Flags and Recommendations

Posted May 31, 2023

 

At its REALTOR® Legislative Meetings in DC earlier this month, NAR held a session on the recent rash of scam listings, which have been plaguing agents across the nation.  CVR MLS has had quite a few of these listings in our area, so here is some guidance to help you avoid being caught in the scam net. 

 

Many of these scam listings come through online referrals.  Below are some red flags to consider, and some recommendations to follow, particularly if you’re being solicited through an online referral program or portal. 

 

Red Flags:

  • Seller or buyer can't meet in person and want to do everything remotely.
  • Seller claims to have a family emergency and needs quick cash.  They will accept substantially less than full price if they close in a very short time.
  • Seller uses an email address or phone number from another country.
  • Their photo IDs are barely legible.
  • Seller doesn't want an EMD, or will accept a very low EMD.  
  • Once under contract, seller seems unwilling to perform to terms of contract or is not returning phone calls.
  • Seller becomes angry and applies pressure to make sure deal goes through.

 

Recommendations

  • Ask the seller for detailed information concerning the parcel number, annual property taxes or exact location.
  • Independently research the name of the seller and check their photo ID.
  • Require an in-person or virtual meeting to see their government issued ID.
  • Contact the listed property owner using a verified telephone number or by an overnight service letter to the address for the property tax bill.
  • Verify that a notary is a real person appointed by the applicable government agency.  Suggest a remote online notary.
  • Participants and subscribers should recommend their clients create a Google and/or property alert of the property address. 

 

Other Resources:

Virginia REALTORS Scam Alert:  Fraudulent Sellers and Buyers, dated February 2, 2023.

DPOR Fake Seller/Fake Buyer Alert, dated February 2, 2023.  

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