Unfortunately, the real estate industry can be a common target for scammers and hoaxes. An experienced real estate agent knows what to look for and how to avoid being scammed. A general rule to follow for both real estate and other potential hoaxes is that if it sounds too good to be true -- it probably is!
While real estate scams are certainly nothing new, they have grown more advanced and complex over the years. The popularity of the internet has helped scammers develop a wider reach. According to the National Association of Realtors, approximately 90 percent of consumers will start their real estate search on the internet. Scammers take advantage of this by using sites like Craigslist to gather information and scam innocent people. Often scammers will ask for up front money like fund transfers with the promise of gaining even more money at a later date.
The Federal Trade Commission warns people to look for these signs of a scam:
-Telling you to wire money
-Asking for a security deposit or first month's rent before you have met or signed a lease
-They say they are out of the country. If you cannot meet them in person, walk away from the deal.