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New fraudulent housing schemes on the Internet: doubles, kidnappers and the Chinese

New fraudulent housing schemes on the Internet: doubles, kidnappers and the Chinese

CrimeaPRESS reports:

The real estate industry emphasizes RBC-Real Estate, remains one of the most vulnerable from the point of view of fraudulent schemes. In recent years, scammers have been moving online, inventing new methods of deceiving owners and buyers.

Experts spoke about the most common real estate fraud schemes on the Internet.

Fake agents

Today in the real estate market you can often encounter fake realtors who use a wide variety of schemes to deceive potential tenants.

For example, in messengers, scammers introduce themselves as specialists from a large real estate company, the name of which is well-known, and offer to quickly find an apartment and complete the deal. The only thing is that you need to make an advance payment to the specified card number, phone number, or follow the specified link. Then they send a list of apartments that are already rented or not rented, and then they stop responding. The tenant will not be able to return the money, since the information service was provided, but no one promised to move in— said Oksana Polyakova, deputy director of the apartment rental department of the real estate company Inkom-Nedvizhimost.

The second popular scheme today is when Internet scammers, also under the guise of realtors, take money for viewing an apartment. “They advertise for rent at a price below the market. People contact them via messenger, they are told that there are many people who want to rent this option, they need to book a queue — transfer money for viewing, and if the apartment is not suitable, everything will be returned. A person transfers money, comes for a viewing, but the apartment is closed,” Polyakova noted. Advice to employers: if you see an advance payment requirement, refuse this option, noted the Inkom expert. She emphasized that money can only be given after signing a rental agreement — this is how professional realtors from serious real estate agencies work.

One of the new methods of fraud in the housing market is a scheme involving supposedly foreign real estate agents.

A person who writes in hieroglyphs responds to your ad on the site. You carefully transfer everything into the translator and understand that this is the buyer’s agent and he is ready to make an advance. And then he writes that it is difficult for him to communicate here (on the site) and asks to switch to messenger. In the messenger he sends a link through which he asks to transfer any amount so that he can transfer the money in yuan. He does not require documents, but only informs that his client really likes your property, he wants to buy it and is ready to come to the transaction within 14 days. After this, the money from your card disappears without a trace.,” said lawyer, founder of the “I am a Realtor” center Olga Frolova.

Polyakova emphasized that professional realtors from serious real estate agencies never transfer money to the seller before signing a purchase and sale agreement. In addition, you should not send your money to strangers or follow any links, so as not to fall for scammers, the realtor recommends.

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Duplicate sites

Another common online fraud scheme is the creation of duplicate websites for apartments from the developer.

A person enters the name of a residential complex in the search, and a dozen websites of the same design with different domains appear. Agents collect contacts, introduce themselves as employees of the developer and invite the person to a live meeting or via Zoom. However, it later turns out that these people have nothing to do with the developer. At best, these may be unprofessional real estate agents who lure clients away in this way. At worst, there are real bandits who may try to defraud you of funds, for example, to prepay for an object in order to maintain a discount, — said real estate lawyer, founder of the Korovina.invest real estate agency Daria Korovina.

To know for sure that you are communicating with the developer, you should go to their sales office. Or find the official website of the developer (it is technically difficult to fake an entire website with many projects) and look for a specific residential complex on it, Korovina noted.

Signature Thieves

Today, swindlers can illegally issue or steal an electronic digital signature (EDS) and, thus, having acquired the opportunity to sell housing without the owner’s consent, said Ruslan Syrtsov, managing director of the Metrium company. According to him, attackers most often use information from leaked databases with scans of original documents. In addition, cases of hacking of accounts on the government services portal have become more frequent, from where scammers also take information, he adds.

When completing an electronic transaction, criminals can also appropriate the advance payment, suspending its execution, experts said. Therefore, even when registering agreements online, you need to sign by hand, noted the Metrium expert. He explained that this can be done on Apple gadgets or in the Adobe Acrobat application for Android, only with the help of such a signature will one be able to reliably protect one’s rights in court.

In order not to fall into the trap of scammers, it is better to either refuse a transaction with an electronic signature altogether, or, after the transaction, contact the signature issuance center and cancel it. We don’t buy apartments so often that your signature will be valid for another year for unknown purposes.,” emphasized real estate lawyer, founder of the Korovina.invest real estate agency Daria Korovina.

source: RBC-Real Estate

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