Real Estate Scams

Real Estate Broker/Owner with KAUAI DREAMS REALTY Kauai Real Property Specialist RB-14203

A fellow Realtor called me a few days ago to warn me of the resurgence of a REO real estate scam I described in an earlier blog I was almost Scammed A REO Scam.  This is where a company/caller lies to you saying they have 2 pre-REO properties in their queue that they need a sales agent for. But of course you have to pay to join their system. And of course they have noting to do with those properties. But lately there has been a number of other sophisticated real estate scams.


The Craig' List Scam:

Almost every real estate agent is familiar with the Craig's List rental scam. But the public may not be. This is where scammers steal Realtor photos of property for sale  and re-post the photos as a house for rent. The scammers usually price the rental below market. They cleverly say that since their Realtor hasn't sold it yet they want to rent it. They further explain that they haven't told the Realtor yet so please not to tell them. Their usual instructions are to send a money order out of the country since they are traveling for the World Health Organization or other international company. Luckily most renters are smart enough to call the Realtor and/or not send money out of the country.


Famous Person Scam:

I received an email last month where the vice president of EY or Ernest Young wanted to buy 1 of my upper end listings. His email came with a picture of him in his email signature. He wanted me to call him in Belgium on Tuesday to discuss it. I noticed his email came from, not from the company server. A major clue this was a scam. I cordially replied:

" Can you please email me back a picture of yourself holding up 2 fingers in the universal peace sign, being sure to show your fingers and face. That way I can verify that it is you. There is so much fraud in this world, I’m sure you can understand my precautions."

 He didn't, what was the scam? I didn't bother to find out. But most likely due to other similar inquiries I have received, it usually has to do with them requesting bank account wiring information to send their deposit.


The Email Virus Scam:

This one comes in many forms but the recent one is really clever. The scammers take the email and email signature of a local agent and email the other agents in the area to open the link or link embedded pdf for an offer. Because it comes from a local agent it almost seems legit.


The Kindly Scam:

This scam is not just a real estate scam. Not really a scam in itself. Kindly is a clue. As soon as i see someone is "kindly asking for my assistance" or "kindly inquiring". I kindly think Nigerian scam and kindly delete that email. 


The Wiring Account Number Has Changed:

I have not yet encountered this scam personally. But it's made the national news. This is when the "escrow/title company" emails you new wiring accounts numbers  to send your closing funds. But the email is not from the escrow company, but from a scammer. On the news show I saw, the consumer was pissed that he had to call his bank to stop the current wire and resend a new one in the morning. This would delay closing by a day. Luckily he was so pissed he called escrow who said there was no change in wiring instructions. WTF? He almost lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.


It's a shame that agents and consumers have to be so scam and fraud cautious in today's society. A few good rules to keep safe are:

1. Don't send money out of the country.

2. Don't give out your bank account number.

3. Don't open email links unless you are expecting it.

4. If you are wiring money to escrow confirm the wiring account number with your escrow company.

5. Play it safe. I feel scammed every time my time is wasted by someone trying to scam me. But it could be a lot worse.


Real Estate Scams are on the rise and becoming cleverer and more sophisticated. They play on the hungry real estate agent and trusting consumer.  As agents we need to protect ourselves and the public from these scams that can be not just irritating but devastating to an unsuspecting renter or homeowner.

Posted by

CLMHS CRS GRI Realtor/Broker/Owner Kauai Dreams Realty 

Comments (4)

Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

There are so many scams especially on the phone with automated messages!I’m about done with all that! Sheesh!

Oct 28, 2017 11:50 PM
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Julie A. Black Thanks for the warning on the list of real estate scams.

Oct 29, 2017 10:01 AM
Debb Janes
Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
Put My Love of Nature At Work for You

Heartbreaking to think so many folks spend all of their time and energy trying to cheat others. Wow. ( Nice to stumble across you via the Rain and comments )  D 

Dec 23, 2017 08:07 AM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

On more than one occasion, Julie A. Black  I have received an unexpected “DocuSign” message with a fraud message urging me to provide my password to open the envelope.

I have also gotten email attachments from bogus senders who want me to provide my Google logon in order to open the attachment.

It pays to be skeptical when receiving unexpected emails from unknow senders. That is the perfect description of a scam.

Jul 04, 2018 01:43 PM