Fraudsters are everywhere. They have been in virtually all field of human endeavour since Adam. The goal isn’t to retire them from their stock in trade. It isn’t to get rid of them in the real estate sector either. The goal is to arm as many as possible with information that will put them on the safe side. To put them in the know of the tell-tale signs they should be on the lookout for whenever they want to buy or rent a property. So how can you avoid fraudsters when buying or renting a property?
Do Your Due Diligence
The world has gone digital. Most estate agents now have websites. Property websites like Hutbay make finding an agent and knowing more about each of them a breeze. With few clicks, the legitimacy of a broker can be easily verified. All thanks to technology.
By doing something as simple as searching a company on google, you can unravel so many things about them. You can get their address, their website, their contact numbers and email and get to know what people are saying about them.
But searching online is no longer good enough. Some fraudsters go as far as owning websites and corporate bank accounts. More so, some agents still don’t have websites. To verify the legitimacy of properties that fall into both the former and later categories, you may have to visit and meet them in person. You may have to talk to people in the neighbourhood to get first-hand information.
After getting to know about the property available for sale or rent, it is only normal for certain questions to be asked. During the asking process, scams can be detected and foiled. Depending on how practised the fraudsters are, with questions as simple and basic as: ‘where is your office? Can we arrange a meeting?” foul plays can be perceived.
For very professional scammers, they will sure beat this hurdle. In the process of doing due diligence however, other errors can be detected in the listing. Was the property, for example, listed on Hutbay and also on different websites? Were their discrepancies in the listings? If in one, the property was listed for sale and on the other it was listed for rent, isn’t that supposed to ring out your scam alert? If there are discrepancies in the asking price, isn’t that, for example, good enough to make you sense something fishy and ask questions?
One tool fraudsters use so well is shrouding details from prospective buyers or renters. For their scam to pull through, they know it is best to make things as vague and unclear as possible. They hardly reveal much. Of course, it is needless to say they try to make their offers as attractive and juicy as possible.
So, if you have a knack for juicy and ridiculously cheap properties, particularly those that are too good to be true, you are likely a potential prey. A good way to however overcome this weakness is to not only pay attention to details, but to understand the deal inside out before making financial commitments.
Don’t Be Too Quick To Pay
In the end, what will determine the success or failure of any scam is whether or not money changed hands. If the scammer gets money, no matter how small, yes, the scam will be pronounced successful. If s/he does not, then, the scam can be adjudged a failure.
For this reason, scammers do not joke with this aspect of business. To ensure they succeed, they try as much as possible to get whatever they can from their victims as fast as possible. It is commonplace for them to create a false sense of urgency and hasten their victim into making payments.
To be on the safe side, never be in haste to make payments no matter urgent things get. Until you’ve done your due diligence, asked questions, understand details, never make payments.