A real estate lawyer in Mississauga spends a lot of time helping clients buy and sell property – but we also spend a lot of time spotting and avoiding scams! The recent boom in real estate investment has created a parallel boom in scammers trying to steal your money. Plus, “thanks” to global commerce, it’s easier than ever for them to look for victims.
You should always consult with a real estate lawyer on any sort of real estate or mortgage deal, but you can save yourself some time and hassle if you know the common scams.
Four Real Estate Scams Commonly Seen by Your Mississauga Real Estate Lawyer
- Title fraud
In a title fraud scam, the criminal uses identity theft to impersonate the legitimate owner of a property, then falsely transfers the title to their name, and uses it to take out a mortgage. They steal the cash and leave the rightful owners holding the bag. Fortunately, fraud insurance exists which can protect against this – and it’s often your only defense.
- Online rental or sale scams
The Internet makes it unfortunately easy for online scammers to try to sell or rent property they don’t actually own. The good news here is that there’s a big tipoff – they will always invent excuses for why they cannot meet you at the property or show you the interior.
In general, you should never buy property sight unseen, no matter how good of a deal it sounds like. The odds are high it’s just a scam.
- Seminar scams
Another way scammers will try to get your money is by hosting seminars full of false information. There are a few ways this scam can go. Sometimes, they’ll simply over-charge for bogus info. More creative scammers will use them to move lousy property at inflated prices, by using the seminar to make the purchase look attractive – and always coupled with high-pressure “buy now!” sales tactics.
- Foreclosure scams
This scam preys on those who are having trouble paying their mortgage. The criminals (often organized crime) approach the property-owner pretending to be a loan consolidation company, agreeing to consolidate the mortgage in exchange for the title. Then they take the loan payments AND the property.
This can be avoided through due diligence. Always research a loan company before signing up!
Contact JMK Law Today
Think you’ve been targeted by a real estate scam? Contact JMK Law for a free consultation!