Sadly, like many other areas where significant amounts of money are involved, the homebuying world is one where scammers may try to take advantage of unsuspecting individuals. This is one of many reasons why working with quality real estate brokers is important, as professionals can help steer you away from any such risks and warn you about the potential schemes you could face.
At Daybreak Living, our quality real estate agents will work with you on everything from finding the perfect Daybreak home to ensuring you never have to think about the risk of scammers. Many such attempts will be centered around the closing period when you purchase a new home – let’s look at how scammers attempt to infiltrate your information, some specific schemes they often attempt, and how to protect yourself and report these issues if they’re attempted on you.
General Scam Format
During a normal home purchase situation, closing the purchase will involve the title company filing the deed on your property with the local government to record the change in ownership. At this junction, your name and address become public information in this filing.
Unscrupulous scammers may take this information and attempt to use it to infiltrate your private information. They may also troll your social media or hack your email account for additional information. The more they’re able to uncover, the more realistic they can make their scams appear.
Using the information they have, here are some of the schemes scammers may try to pull to extract money from you:
- Mortgage protection insurance: This is a legitimate product that many companies offer, helping protect a family in the case where the homeowner dies by paying off the mortgage (similar to life insurance in some ways). But scammers may attempt to scare you into buying a fake policy here.
- Fake utility bills: Scammers may also email or mail you telling you your power or other utilities will be shut off immediately unless you make a payment. If you’re dubious of this in any way, look up your provider’s phone number and call them to ensure this is legitimate.
- Property tax payments: Others may threaten you with the loss of the home if you don’t pay back property taxes that are overdue. If you’re not certain here, contact your local tax authority to confirm any money owed before sending payments to an unknown source.
- Home warranties: Another legitimate product that scammers may attempt to fake is a home warranty. They will try to sell fake policies that don’t actually cover anything and really just take money out of your account.
A note here: While the period directly after closing is the most common one for these scams to appear, it’s possible for several of them to occur at later points as well. Homeowners should always be vigilant any take a second look at any unexpected communication instructing them to pay money to an unknown source.
How to Report Scam Attempts
If you believe you’ve been the target of any such scam or a related attempt, contact the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is in charge of investigating and sharing these with law enforcement. They can be reached at 877-FTC-HELP or at ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
For more on avoiding real estate closing scams, or to learn about any of our homes for sale in Daybreak, speak to the staff at Daybreak Living today.
About the Author:
Utah Dave - Daybreak Neighboorhood Expert and Local Resident
My friends nicknamed me Utah Dave in high school because they said it didn't matter where we went in Utah, I would know how to get there and who we needed to talk to. The name sticks today as UtahDave has formed into a professional real estate network of Neighborhood Experts all across the state. I live in Daybreak with my wife and 4 amazing children. I enjoy dancing (which is how I met my wife Dawn) as well as traveling, coaching, and learning.