NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - “Nashville is the IT city and there are so many people moving in every day and availability of real estate is often slim,” Dan Lain with TN Homebuyers said.
Lain says scammers know this and often times are looking at this as an opportunity to trick you.
“People will spoof a real Real Estate listing. Whether it’s for sale or for rental and they’ll copy the details. Of course changing the contact information and the someone unknowingly calls a scammer and ends up in communication and ultimately-it can turn into a bad deal for them,” Lain said.
Oftentimes, scammers are doing this scam through social media. The real estate fraudsters try to rush you into making a purchase.
“A big red flag there is if people are asking you for money orders. If they want you to do it quickly, if they’re trying to create a sense of urgency-- that you might lose the property,” Lain said.
In 2018, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance also notified potential home buyers of a scam targeting real-estate seekers.
The scam involves fake “cloud-based companies,” which are online real-estate websites advertising available property. While the properties might be real, the companies are not.
In actuality, scammers have created duplicates of legitimate websites and are advertising property they do not have permission to sell. Some individuals even steal licensees’ identities in order to portray themselves as a licensed agent, when in fact they are not. The scammers can go so far as to accept a down payment for the advertised property and then leave the consumer with nowhere to go and an empty bank account
To avoid these scammers, TDCI’s Real Estate Commission shares the following tips:
Check verify.tn.gov to ensure both the company and the individual agent are properly licensed with the Tennessee Real Estate Commission.
Confirm the city of both the company and the agent at verify.tn.gov. If the locations do not match, call or email the Real Estate Commission at 615-741-2273 to verify what firm the agent is associated with.
Proceed with caution if the company is asking for money up front. Never give money to someone you don’t know or have any information about other than how they portray themselves on the Internet.
Be sure to confirm the company’s exact location before proceeding with business negotiations. Pay special attention to the suite number or floor they are located on. Many fraudulent companies list well-known business addresses, but are not actually associated with the building.
If you are wary about the location listed, search for the address on the Internet. Look for a street view of the location to confirm that business name is on the sign or building address matches the one provided. If you’re still in doubt, visit the company.
If you have been the victim of a scam, visit tn.gov/commerce to file a complaint.