Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Scams and Tips To Avoid Them

January 20, 2022


The hindmost thing, an individual should agonize about is being swindled by real estate scammers. Real estate scams usually take place when you purchase or rent a house and consider refinancing your mortgage. Unfortunately, the scammers have become ingenious in targeting customers. If you are bewildered by the thought of being scammed by someone fraudulently selling a house, then you should have notable knowledge about the types of real estate frauds and the ways to safeguard yourself from them. Alone in the year 2020, more than 13000 instances of real estate rental fraud have been reported. You don’t have to worry about the scams as Urban Money has got you covered through this easy-breezy guide about the biggest real estate frauds in India. 

Here is a rundown of the most common real estate together with the mortgage scams. Keep them within your radar and give scammers a miss from getting their next victim.

Most Common Types of Real Estate Frauds


Real estate surveils distinct types of scams on a regular basis from basic escrow wire scams to mortgage wire scams. In general, such frauds are monitored when the scammer acts as a real estate agent to trick you into a wire transfer. Although, you can’t easily detect such scams, as they take place through dedicated software. The software is precisely designed to mimic the email and number of the real estate agent. 

You either get a phone call or an email from the scammer who purports himself to be from your entitled company depicting vital instructions correlated with the details for wire fund transfer. To initiate such frauds, the tricksters initially set up hoax websites somewhat similar to the official website of the lending venture you are currently working with. Furthermore, the spoofing tactics are taken into consideration to make familiar numbers, sites, and emails.

All such on-point things create a delusion and make you wonder that everything is well, and you go further with the wire instructions you won’t even notice, and you are already a member of a wire scam. Surprises? Thinking about the transaction you just made? Well, it is already bygone. The fraudulent have already withdrawn the transactional funds from their offshore account. For the time being, you have certain options to retrieve the funds.

How to fend off from wire frauds

Once well said, be cautious and stave off unforeseen conditions you might get in. You can effectively deal with such situations when ahead of time you know what these tricksters look like. 

After receiving the wire transfer instructions, get back to the original documents that the lender provided you. Go through the listed number, get in touch, and verify the received wire instructions. We highly recommend not to perform a wire transfer before the cross-check. After validating the details, you can go with the wire transfer. You are not done yet!! Make the next move and call your real estate broker, ask him about the transfer of funds. This should be done immediately after the wiring transfer of funds. 

Loan Roll Over or Loan Flipping

Loan-flipping scams, transpire when the scammers persuade the house owner to re-mortgage the home time after time. The fraudulent usually charge a lofty fee in addition to high points with every transaction. In the end, the homeowners get plunged with high payments of the loan, which aren’t affordable for them. This is because they have already swindled in borrowing the lion’s share of the homes’ equity. 

As per the surveys, senior citizens more often fall victim to loan flipping scams. The key reason that leads to such fraud is seniors have noteworthy home equity built up. They don’t even have any idea about the advantage they can offer to the scammers. Predatory lenders easily convince the homeowners that they can help them out to come by a better home loan product at current home loan interest rates. They even propose the offer of cashing out the refinance to support the renovation part of the home. Fraudulent trick them by saying that with such renovations they can make the home more accessible specifically for the growing age.

How to fend off from loan flipping

To protect yourself from such frauds the foremost thing you can do is work with the lenders you already know. Working with the ones with whom you have previously dealt will help you to stay safe on your part. If you’re a senior citizen, it is better to ask your family member or anyone known to do the same as you might forget things at certain times. While making financial decisions, always consider taking advice from the known ones as it will help you to keep out of the upcoming scams. 

Moreover, if you have already counted on refinancing recently, then it is not the right time to carry forwards another transaction. One more vital sign of a scam is that the predatory lender keeps pushing you for refinance even if you haven’t asked for it. Consider it as a warning sign and a better step back. The key step you can count on is, deal with the known finance providers, and beforehand ask about the imposed charges and penalties. 

Foreclosure Relief

As the name says, foreclosure relief scam, orients around loan foreclosure. In this type of scam, the tricksters target individual borrowers on the verge of contemplating home loan foreclosure. In such cases, the scamster’s fascinate the individuals by offering a waiver of foreclosure fee or by tempering the loan at the cost of a significant amount of upfront payment.

Homeowners and finance borrowers going through rough times and getting behind the mortgage are soft targets for such scams as they are highly desperate to extricate their homes. Scammers can do it with utmost ease especially when they have out-break to public records depicting houses marked for pre foreclosure. 

Such frauds are most devastating. You don’t only lose the amount you’re paid but additionally, you are at the risk of losing your home too. To safeguard yourself from foreclosure relief scams, it is advised not to agree to upfront payments. This is applicable precisely for the services you are not accessible to. The fraudulent claims offer help in reducing mortgage payments by paying a huge upfront amount. But in the end, you will be in the midst of worsening financial conditions. 

In some case scenarios, the tricksters present themselves as government-affiliated personnel and as a result swindle borrowers out of thousands. On account of financial challenges, foreclosure relief scams are highly exploding. Even after the numerous steps taken by the financial institutions to prevent such scams, the criminals are moving forward with their activities fearlessly. 

How to fend off from foreclosure relief

The foremost way to avoid the scam of foreclosure is, be in direct touch with your loan servicer and not through a mediocre. If you want to modify your existing home loan, request foreclosure, or carry forward another arrangement, get in touch with the lender. If the person you are dealing with is a scammer, he won’t allow you to directly have words with your lender. As a borrower, you might hesitate to speak with the loan provider as you are in default. But opening the lines of communication is the only thing that is going to hit hard and help you out. 

Rental Scams

When it comes to renting property, people usually consider going through online websites. The tricksters post advertisements of property rentals on Craigslist and social media platforms to tempt the unsuspecting renters. Moreover, they use photographs of rental properties mentioned on the other listings. This helps them in making their listings genuine like the authentic ones. They list the properties that don’t have any existence and trick the individuals to send brokerage fees or security fees. They can even opt for bait-and-switch means by posting low rental ads during skyrocketing rental rates. 

The fraudulent, who don’t have any sort of connection with the rental property or even the owner asks you to make an upfront payment. Additionally, such scammers ask you to visit the property after the beforehand payment. Well, the bitter truth is, there is no such fascinating deal you are getting lured to. It is just a way to access quick cash via nefarious means. Nowadays, rental scams are quite common, and you need to be well-prepared to safeguard yourself from them. 

How to fend off from rental scams

To stave off from common rental scams, the best initiative is to look into the listing photos of the rental property. Also, you can look for the watermark and verified properties. Visiting the property in person is the utmost requisite before renting it and making advance payment. Never ever sign any document in the name of the rent agreement before making a property visit and looking into the authenticity of the person.  

Always be suspicious of the person who asks for an upfront payment and cash deposit. Make sure that you are dealing with the property owner, and then jump to the negotiation part of the property rent. If you don’t know who the property owner is, then look into the property appraiser’s site and figure out basic details about the current owner. Extract the contact information and directly have a conversation regarding property rental. is and look for contact information online.

Moreover, always stick to cheque payments rather than cash as you get the authentic receipt for the transaction. If someone presents himself as a real estate agent, be smart and ask him to showcase his license. Take a snap of the license and verify it with the information available on the online sites.

Moving scams

You have found the dream home and all you have to do is shift the belongings and other stuff right there. In such a case, you will definitely rely on the moving companies, such that you can enjoy hassle-free shifting. Initially, you will visit their website and fill out the form, outlining your requirements and belongings to be shifted. They send you an estimated cost of INR 4,000 for shipping your stuff from the existing home to the new one. Looks smooth? Well, what if when they show up at your place, they ask for INR 10,000. Would you be upset? The situation can be worse. You deposited the charges in advance, and they never showed up.

Such incidents are quite common, and numerous complaints are filed on a daily basis about the same. Companies are trying their best to remove such incidents by offering genuine services so that people don’t get into the gimmicks. 

How to fend off from moving scams

Moving from one place to another can be expensive, thus, people get tempted with affordable offers to transport the stuff. Although, this isn’t the domain where you can choose a service only on the cost factor. You will have to look into other aspects too. Get the license number of the moving company and see if someone has lodged any complaint about their services.  

Additionally, the experts say to ask for in-person quotations or virtual quotations rather than counting on quotes mentioned over calls. Quotations given on phone calls are definitely a red flag and sign of a scam. Last but not the least, never make a large chunk of advance payments. Reserve the services by making a small advance payment and pay the rest after the work is done. 

After going through the types of real estate frauds, here is what you can do to detect real estate scams in advance. 

How To Detect Real Estate Scams?

The pre-eminent way to fortify yourself from draining real estate scams is, know the warning signs. If you become a pro in detecting real estate scams, no one ever would be able to rat-trap you. Well, the warning signs are vital for first-time house buyers, as they are the soft and easy targets for scammers. Be cautious and detect real estate rental fraud and scammers fraudulently selling a house forge ahead. Look for the below-depicted warning signs as they will shout out loud that you are about to fall into a real estate scam:

The shortfall of Appropriate Documentation

If you are looking forward to a house purchase and the seller shows a shortfall of the necessary paperwork, then consider it as a warning sign. In general, the fraudulent give their words about sending over appropriate documentation, including sale deed, after the final agreement, or upfront payment in terms of booking. 

Compulsion To Act Immediately

Real estate tricksters often pressurize the home buyers to act immediately on the proposal. They try to pretend that this is the best opportunity and if you don’t avail it off as soon as possible, then you will miss it out. They will ask you to step ahead now and make a beforehand payment. 

Anytime you feel that the front foot party is pressuring you to take immediate action, then it’s a red flag. On the other hand, talking about a basic home loan process, you will get the offer from the lender, you accept it, submit documents, get approval and submit a certain amount as a down payment. That’s it, no compulsions at all.

Impractical Guarantees

If you get a too mesmerizing offer that is next to impossible then it’s a trap. For instance, offering you lower rates than the current home loan interest rates, that too when you have a bad credit score. It is a common way to track individuals in mortgage relief frauds. The scammers offer loan exchange at lower rates by making huge upfront payments. 

Demands for Upfront Payment and Wire Money

Some scammers focus more on getting instant money rather than tricking the borrowers. They ask for upfront money through wire transfer to take the deal forward. Although, this is not how the process works thus, consider it as a warning sign as report it for the good of others. 

Wrapping Up

Always stay sharp-eyed against real estate scams. These are unfortunate realities, but by being vigilant you can safeguard yourself from being a victim of one. All such scams not only drain you financially but take your mental peace too. Beware of such scammers and deal with the known and trustworthy ones you are familiar with. We have familiarized you with some most common real estate scams and you can prepare yourself to effortlessly deal with such fraud. Moreover, if you have doubts about someone about involvement in a real estate scam, take a step and inform the dedicated authorities. 

A quick and constant learner, Akhil can bring off any niche in demand with his expertise in simplifying complex. He believes in focusing on what's missing rather than adoring what's in his bag. When he is not busy typing away, he likes to watch his favourite football team, Arsenal! Being a lifelong Michael Jordan fan, he hopes to achieve the dream of meeting his idol one day. Currently, he is a master of finances with Urban Money.

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