REAL ESTATE SCAM ALERT –


The following alert is being provided as a public service. It is an exact reprint of the alert distributed to Louisiana Realtors by  NOMAR
 

Reports are surfacing once again relative to rental housing scams. On June 3, 2013 GSREIN alerted its members that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had issued a consumer alert affecting real estate listings in a rental housing scam. The scam involves Criminals searching Web sites that list homes for sale. They take the information in those ads – lock, stock and barrel – and post it, with their own e-mail address, in an ad on other real estate sites (without the sites consent or knowledge) under the housing rentals category. Reported sites include Craigslist and Trulia.

The houses are almost always listed with below market rental rates.

Potential renters might then be asked to fill out credit applications asking for personal information like credit history, social security numbers, birthdates, and work history. Criminals can use this information to commit identity fraud and steal money from their victims.

Several cases of unauthorized listing display have been reported. We recommend the following approach.

Contact the website owners using every possible method (registered mail, email and telephone) to make it clear that you are the listing agent on the property appearing on their site. Explain that the display of your listing information on the site is not authorized and demand that it be removed immediately.

After seven days, check the site to see if the listing has been removed. Follow up with the site owners again if it has not been removed. In other words, stay after them until it is removed.

Keep a log of the paper trail, e-mails and phone calls that reflect your attempt to proactively get this situation resolved.

Who should I notify about fraud or scam attempts?

U.S. Federal 

Louisiana

Report these cases to the Attorney General’s Office. Call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-351-4889 or click the Consumer Complaint Form below to file electronically: Consumer Complaint Form (electronic)

Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Section P.O. Box 94005 Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9005 http://www.ag.state.la.us/

Craigslist

If you suspect that a Craigslist post may be part of a scam, submit details to Craigslist send us the details .

Trulia

If you suspect that a Trulia post may be part of a scam, submit details to Trulia Legal Department, dmca@trulia.comor contact (415) 648-4358.

Local

If you are defrauded by someone you met in person, contact your local police department.

Tips to help sidestep would-be scammers:

Never Give Out Financial or Personal Information – bank account, social security number, birth date, eBay/PayPal info, etc.

Never Wire Funds Via Western Union, Moneygram Or Any Other Wire Service

Fake Cashier Checks & Money Orders Are Common, And Banks Will Cash Them And Then Hold You Responsible

Avoid Deals Involving Shipping or Escrow Services – and know that only a scammer will “Guarantee” your transaction.

Do Not Rent Housing Without Seeing The Interior, Or Purchase Expensive Items Sight Unseen – in all likelihood that housing unit is not actually for rent and that cheap item does not exist.

Do Not Submit to Credit Checks or Background Checks for housing until you have met the Landlord/Agent in person.

Deal Locally With Folks You Can Meet In Person

Agents may wish to consider signing up for Google Alerts (http://www.google.com/alerts) for each of their listings in order to get an e-mail anytime that address is posted on a Web site.

Ask the person that you are dealing with in the transaction to send you a photo. Request a view of the property that you have already seen. Ask for the photo to include something specific, such as someone standing on the porch of the property or a can of soda on the mailbox with a view of the property. If the person is not able to produce your request, this will send up a red flag of a possible scam.

Joyce Albert

About Joyce Albert

Why you need a Real Estate Consultant, not just another Agent… The difference between a real estate agent and a real estate consultant is the difference between someone who just wants to make a sale, and a professional who is willing to share with you their in-depth knowledge of the market in order to help you navigate one of the largest financial decisions of your lifetime. In my career as a real estate consultant, putting my clients first has been the hallmark of my success. I will always make myself accessible, be a good listener, and respond quickly to your needs. So if you are looking for a true professional to help you buy or sell a home in the Slidell, Mandeville, or Covington areas, please contact me. I look forward to working with you. Certified 203k Specialist I am a certified FHA-203k Specialist affiliated with the Re-buld USA program.- a program designed to assist buyers wanting to purchase distressed properties (hurricane damaged, repos, short sales) that require rehab. Accredidations -  Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR)  e-Certified  Short-Sale & Foreclosure Certified (SFR) Other Memberhips. . .  Louisiana Association of Realtors  New Orleans Metropolitan Assn of Realtors (NOMAR)  Gulf South Real Estate Information Network  National Assn of Realtors (NAR) of Realtors (NAR)  Real Estate Board of Accredited Buyer Consultants (REBAC)
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