With the increase in real estate scams, it is important to let customers know the advantages of working with a licensed real estate agent utilizing the FOREWARN app.
Fake internet listings, fake homeowners or sellers, and fake investors, are just some of the reasons working with a real estate agent is an advantage for prospects in avoiding scammers and from potentially losing thousands of dollars.
Fake online listings have become a major problem. Prospective homebuyers and renters think they are saving money by searching online themselves instead of using an agent. Unfortunately, there have been many cases of criminals taking the identity of homeowners and posting fake listings and requesting deposits from interested prospects.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center report, there were 11,300 victims of fraud involving real estate, rental or timeshare properties in 2018 with victims losing almost $150 million combined. Any time a prospective buyer or renter is looking for a home, it is imperative that the identity of the homeowner is verified. As a licensed, real estate agent, you can use FOREWARN to verify “homeowners” of listings that prospects are interested in, protecting your customers from possible real estate scams, always on the alert for any red flags.
With real estate investors contacting homeowners directly to purchase their home, homeowners have very few resources for verifying an investor’s identity or legitimacy. Real estate agents with FOREWARN can help verify an investor’s identity, verify their financial history (bankruptcies, liens, judgments) and verify current assets, while helping homeowners get the best price for their home. On the other side, there are real estate investors being scammed as well. Being able to quickly verify identity and property ownership may help reduce the chance of fraud. On both sides, using an agent that utilizes FOREWARN can be a safeguard against real estate scams.
Likewise, it is also important for agents to make clients aware of how they do business. There are many scammers impersonating agents by sending emails to agent clients and then asking for immediate wire transfers with unsuspecting customers following the instructions only to lose their money. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation‘s public service announcement in September 2019, email wire fraud cost companies $26 billion since 2016. Advising your customers to call you directly to verify any financial transactions can also prevent them from being scammed.
There are plenty of fraudulent activities in the real estate industry. Using the FOREWARN app, not only to verify prospects but also the other parties involved in the transaction, can reduce financial risk for you and your customer as well as bring to light fake identities. Consider the benefits of educating your customers and prospects on the variety of potential scams that you can help them to avoid. Being vigilant and leveraging your resources and expertise is yet another way you can add significant value to each real estate transaction and your community overall.