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Be Wary of Real Estate Scams and Fake Rental Listings

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scam, online scam, Joliet real estate attorneysWhen you a looking for a new home, whether you are ready to buy your dream house or simply looking to rent for the time being, the process can be overwhelming. Hours of searching for the right place can leave you feeling frustrated, and you may wonder if you will ever find a home that meets your needs. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for unscrupulous individuals to prey upon the emotions of those looking for a new home, and attempt to scam you out of your hard-earned money. Such was the case for a Salt Lake City woman who lost nearly $4,000 to a bogus landlord purporting to be from here in Illinois.

Out-of-State Interactions

In January of this year, a woman in Utah was looking for homes to rent on the online classifieds site Craigslist. Finding a house that she liked, she contacted the alleged owner, who instructed her to go see the unlocked home on her own. The woman determined that she wanted to move in. According to reports, the “landlord” told her to sign the lease and to electronically wire $3,900 for a security deposit and the first month's rent.  The keys, the alleged owner reportedly said, would be mailed to the woman from Illinois; they never arrived. Finally deciding to some digging, the woman checked public records regarding the home's ownership, and found the owner to be someone other than the person to whom she had just sent thousands of dollars.

Carefully Vet Internet Listings

Online real estate sites, or sites with real estate sections such as Craigslist, can be a gold mine of unsuspecting victims for scammers. It is relatively easy to hijack a legitimate listing and altering the contact the information of the landlord. Many renters and buyers are able to find great real estate deals online, but it is crucial to proceed with extreme caution and to know the red flags of a potential scam. For example, if you have never met the landlord or a property manager in person, why not? Check with local rental and real estate organizations to find out for sure that the landlord is known around the area; if he or she is not, starting asking more questions. Most importantly, never send money to someone you have not met or without a signed agreement that provides you with the landlord's verified information and recourse in the event of a problem.

Work With a Real Estate Lawyer

If a real estate purchase or rental opportunity sounds too good to be true, or you have gotten uneasy feeling about a purported landlord, an experienced Joliet real estate attorney can help you fully analyze the situation. We will assist you in researching the property and the alleged owner, as well as conducting a full review of the terms of the purchase contract or lease agreement. Contact the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C., today and let us provide with the guidance you need so that you can have the peace of mind you deserve.

Sources:

http://kutv.com/news/get-gephardt/scammers-with-bogus-rental-listing-trick-woman-into-wiring-3900-deposit

http://www.forbes.com/sites/morganbrennan/2013/07/16/3-insidious-real-estate-scams-and-how-to-avoid-them/

http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/realestate/how-to-avoid-a-real-estate-scam/ar-AA9WNNa

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