There are many real estate investors who flip houses to sell for profit and they often pop up on listing sites such as Craigslist. In a perfect world, every buyer would be legitimate. But with such high risk, you really can’t be too careful – Craigslist is riddled with real estate scammers.
The internet is filled with scammers. There are more than just Craigslist, and they can be found in any website you browse – from real estate listings to job ads. Point is: never let your guard down. Before you list your property online, make sure you’re aware of these warning signs.
There’s Such a Thing As “Too Good To Be True”
Sure we’ve all found a gem in our property investing endeavors. But always be wary of buyers or sellers using the internet for anonymity. Listen to your intuition and instincts. If the person you’re dealing with is talking about things that don’t seem to add up, just walk away.
Avoid Those Wanting To Only Use Their Own Resources
While it’s normal for a buyer or seller to bring in their own resources, scammers won’t give you an option. They are likely giving you false information regarding their payment method or escrow agent. Try suggesting using your own independent escrow agent, and if you get met with hostility or frustration, you’re not dealing with someone legitimate.
Common Arguments Used By Craigslist Scammers
“I’m out of the country on business…”
This is one of the more popular ploys to scam early investors on Craigslist. While it may sound legitimate at first, this is a pretty simple one to see through. First red flag is the lack of a phone number to contact, and the only communication is done through email. Poorly written emails, at that. Inquiring on their exact reasons to sell can vary from sounding reasonable to downright absurd, but they will be relentless on finding a buyer. They’ll typically ask for a ridiculous amount of money to be sent to a country you’ve never heard of via Western Union. If this isn’t a red flag, I honestly don’t know what is.
Along the lines of Western Union, if a seller asks you to send any direct deposit to one, please don’t. The crook will ask you to wire money or send a check for “deposit,” after which they’ll overnight the key. Only send money to a valid bank account, and please do your research on these buyers. Never send large amounts of money to people you’ve never met.
“I want to buy the property sight-unseen…”
It’s a shame that so many people get taken advantage of by this scam. They think they’ll make some easy cash and end up losing everything, but hey at least now you know not to fall victim too! This scam sounds a lot more convincing than the previous ones. The buyer will typically send a payment to you, but ask for cash back “after the check clears.” News flash: it won’t happen. The cash they sent will get voided and you’re likely out a grand or so.
Start Looking In The Right Place
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