Fannie Mae has recently put out alerts of widespread fraudulent rental scams. Families facing financial difficulties are more susceptible to these types of scams. Thus, they have become the target for scam artists who wish to take advantage of their vulnerability.
There are two types of scams related to rentals: the amazing home description at an unbelievable price, and the rental property that is being illegally rented. The former of the two scams is easier to avoid, but unfortunately families that are on a tight budget and in a hurry to find a new home may fall for just that type of a scam.
In the past, we’ve associated these types of scams with people from other countries or automated listings that are garbled, but these types of scammers have become more sophisticated. To prevent falling for these professional scams, we suggest you take the following steps:
- Never give money, such as a deposit to someone you haven’t met in person.
- Do not give a deposit on a rental property that you haven’t physically seen, even if you are provided with pictures.
- Verify home ownership directly through court records. In some cases, perpetrators have gone as far as creating false deeds in order to appear more legitimate.
It may seem surreal that individuals have access to a home that isn’t theirs, but it isn’t uncommon. A home that was taken over by the bank might be serviced by a property manager. The property manager may subcontract work that needs to be done in order to manage their properties. Those who are hired to care for the property have access to the homes and may use them to commit these types of crimes. The good news is that banks have started to take precautions by having all contractors go through a background check. Additionally, they are even checking for unauthorized title transfers on the web.
These types of scams are happening all across the nation, but they’re particularly prevalent in areas with high foreclosure rates. We know that many of our clients choose to move out of their foreclosed property and must rent for a period of time thereafter. If you don’t feel sure about the real estate transaction you are about to engage in, schedule a free consultation with an attorney. We constantly warn our foreclosure clients of all that they should be weary of as they move beyond their foreclosure.