The Federal Trade Commission has issued a new alert warning Boston condo buyers to beware of potential scams around mortgage assistance.
Real Estate Buyers Fraud Losses
This week it said that Americans have lost a combined $106 million to fraud related to the COVID-19 outbreak, and said consumers need to be careful about any solicitations that ask them to pay for access to financial assistance such as stimulus checks, job opportunities and mortgages.
The FTC said that scammers often try to trick homeowners into believing that it’s necessary to pay an upfront fee to get access to mortgage assistance.
It advises homeowners who’ve fallen behind on their mortgage payments to speak with their mortgage servicers to discuss what options they have. Those who’re struggling to pay their mortgage or rent can face foreclosure or eviction, and may want to consult with a legal services organization, it added.
Because of COVID-19, scammers have also exploited stimulus checks for their nefarious schemes, the FTC warned. It’s concerning that Congress is currently debating another round of stimulus checks, which could lead to even more fraud. It said that consumers need to be aware that just as with their first stimulus checks, there’s no need to pay a fee to get it.
“Nobody will call you to ask for your Social Security, bank account or credit card number,” in order to access the payment, the FTC said.
In addition, the FTC has asked real estate professionals to remain vigilant against wire fraud scams in their transactions. It also wants them to warn their clients, especially as more parts of the transaction are done remotely these days due to social distancing.
The Boston downtown real estate industry is extremely profitable. That’s exactly why there are so many scammers in this industry. I want to shed some light on this topic and help you spot Boston real estate scams as they can be very harmful and difficult to identify. If you aren’t careful enough you might lose money. With so much money involved in every Boston condo transaction, imagine how professionally conducted these scammers have to be.
In this Boston condo blog post, I’ll identify some of the most common signs that indicate you may be involved in a real estate scam.
SIGNS OF A REAL ESTATE SCAM
If you’ve ever searched for Boston condos for sale you’ve seen that all the pictures posted that have watermarks on them. That is a technique used to prevent scammers from stealing the images and using them for real estate scams. Well, some scammers don’t mind the watermark and believe that there will be a person naive enough to fall for the fake listing and call to ask about the home. That is why it is always good to have a reliable Boston downtown real estate agent on your side throughout the transaction. As professionals, Boston downtown real estate brokers can easily spot a fake listing and utilize multiple tools to identify if the listing is a scam or not.
We know that not everyone can be a professional writer when it comes to describing Boston downtown real estate for sale on their listings, but a person who really wants to rent or sell a Boston Seaport condo for sale will do their best to write a perfect description. Scammers usually don’t put too much effort into these descriptions. You would think they would as they want to scam you, but the truth is, they are scammers. They have dozens of fake Boston apartment listings and remembering what you wrote about each one is simply impossible. Fake listings are usually generic with little to no information. Scammers may also be vague on the listing to give the buyer a reason to call for clarification or additional information. If a listing has little to no information, you shouldn’t even call the number to ask about the home.
SEEING ONLY THE PICTURES OF THE PLACE
Let’s say you want to buy or rent an apartment in downtown Boston. The logical thing would be to see the place first and take a look for yourself. Seeing a Boston condos for sale in person allows the buyer to get a feel for the place and see if it’s what you like. We suggest you always demand to see a property in person unless your real estate agent suggests going to check it out on your behalf. If the realtor or the owner on the listing won’t let you see the place first, no matter their reasoning, you should keep searching. This is the most obvious sign of a real estate scam. Even if the home you want to get is in a different city, state or even a different country, do your best and check out the place for yourself or trust your local real estate agent to go and check out the home on your behalf. This will also help you adapt to the new Boston downtown neighborhood.
THEY ARE READY TO MAKE A DEAL IMMEDIATELY
If the person who is renting the home wants to make a deal with you almost immediately, you might have fallen for a scam. Nobody, and we mean nobody, will want to make a deal immediately. The landlord or property manager will always do a background check before deciding whether or not they will rent out a property to a new tenant. This background check should at least involve them checking your financial stability. Our company conducts a background check on every single person interested in buying or renting your Boston Seaport condo Sadly, we can’t say that all real estate companies do this.
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
If you happen to stumble upon a deal that is just too good to be true, sorry we have to be so blunt, but – it’s fake. If you are looking for Boston Midtown condo of a certain size in a certain neighborhood, if the listing is far cheaper than the others you shouldn’t even consider. All prices will be comparable to each other so the drastically low price is a fake listing for sure. This rules applies in every aspect of your life. If something is too good to be true, it really is too good to be true.
HOW TO AVOID GETTING SCAMMED?
The question now is, how to avoid getting scammed? It is simple. Work with a reliable Boston downtown real estate broker to aid in your search, and you won’t have to worry about getting scammed. A real reliable real estate agent:
- is experienced and has years of work behind him
- has a license
- has a good website with all their information displayed
- has awards and honors
- is responsible and always available
- has good reviews
There are so many more things that can tell you if a real estate agent is reliable or not but these are just the basic ones. If just one thing is off, you should keep searching. Real estate scams are dangerous and they are everywhere. So before making the big move either locally or long distance, be sure to do your research before it’s too late.
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