Avoiding Scams Surrounding Your Homebuying Experience
by Dave Robison
on Wednesday, August 21st, 2019 at 1:09pm.
Real estate agents serve a number of beneficial purposes for their clients, and these often extend beyond simply finding and purchasing a property. Agents are also a valuable knowledge and experience source for buyers in numerous areas, helping them wade through various obstacles and obtain the home of their dreams with as little hassle as possible.
At Eagle Mountain Living, our real estate agents are here to help with every need you may have, from identifying top home listings in your desired price range to assisting you with every small detail of any of our Eagle Mountain properties. We’re also here to help you avoid a situation that’s unfortunately become more common over the last few years: Scams attempted by unscrupulous individuals surrounding the closing of your mortgage or home purchase. Let’s look at how this happens, a few potential scam types to protect yourself from, and how you can act if one of these scams is attempted on you.
Public Information Post-Closing
The time when most of these scammers strike is just after your home purchase closes – a time when various pieces of your personal information, such as name and address, become public. This is due to the title company filing your deed on the property you’ve purchased with local authorities.
In addition, con artists will scour social media sites, hack email accounts and perform other shady activities to try and find home purchases about to close. Any personal information they can obtain about buyers during that time will help them. Typically, the format includes them sending you some kind of correspondence, often via email but also potentially via phone or text. Our next section will go over some of these inquiry types and how you can spot a trick.
Common Scam Types
The goal of each of these scams is to convince you to send money to a source that’s acting as a mortgage or homebuying-related entity, but in reality is not. Some examples:
Mortgage insurance: This is a product that legitimate mortgage companies will often offer, but scammers will attempt to fake it. Your best defense against this is carefully investigating all sources of these requests before sending any funds.
Fake utility bills: In other cases, scammers will send a note threatening to cut off certain utilities unless payment is made immediately. If you’re confused here, look up your own provider’s number and call them yourself for clarification.
Property tax payments: Scammers may also threaten you with the loss of your home if you don’t pay property taxes right away – but in most cases, real estate taxes are included in your monthly payments.
Home warranties: Another legitimate offering from some companies that scammers will attempt to fake – they’ll create false documents and try to fool you into paying them.
Contacting the FTC
If you’re diligent and careful with your correspondence and your payments to various sources, avoiding the scam attempts above is relatively simple. If you spot the signs of someone trying to scam you here, not only should you inform our agents right away, but you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report the behavior. They can be reached at 877-FTC-HELP or at ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
For more on avoiding scams during the homebuying process, or to learn about any of our homes for sale, speak to the staff at Eagle Mountain Living today.