The latest target of scammers is homes that are not for sale.
On Zillow, there was a for sale by owner listing for a 3,200 square foot home, four bedrooms, four bathrooms, right along with the highly desired area of Glenwood Avenue very close to the heart of downtown Raleigh. The listing says it’s been reduced to a cash sale price of $17,000, despite Zillow’s estimated current value being more than $1.3 million.
The price tag is the first big red flag that this is a scam, and the next red flags are the spelling and grammatical errors in the listing as it states, “Selling inexpensively because my family own (sic) many properties across the county,” along with “this is done as a tax rite (sic) off.”
The listing goes on to state, that this is for first-time homebuyers as they are not interested in hearing from anyone with representation or anyone who has previously owned a home and not for Realtors, lenders, investors, wholesalers, lawyers, and no third parties. Another big red flag is that the listing states you can’t walk through the home until you send $2,000 cash via a Zelle bank transfer to the seller’s parent’s bank account. You also need to send a picture of your ID and email. The listing claims the $2,000 is fully refundable if you walk through the home and don’t want it.
The goal of the scammers is to get as many $2,000 deposits as they can, as you will never see the property as it’s not for sale. The scammers, just used previous photographs from the previous listing back when the home was for sale a few years ago.
The actual owner of the home told Troubleshooter Diane Wilson that he was shocked to see his home listed for sale by owner, and that a couple of people did show up after it was listed. He said he reported the fraud to Zillow several times before the listing was taken down.
A representative with Zillow says they do have safeguards in place to prevent fraud listings, but unfortunately, scammers find ways to still get through. He adds Zillow blocked the account that posted the listing. Zillow does warnings on their website on how to avoid rental and home for sale scams.
Before responding to any home for sale ads or rent ads, it’s important to do your research. Scammers get your attention with the low price either for sale or rent. Never wire the money, send it through a cash app, or pay in gift cards, all big red flags it could be a scam.
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