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Though the housing recovery is trucking along, that doesn’t mean scams have gone away. have been duped out of an average of $4,000 to $5,000 from scams, but even five-figure losses aren’t uncommon for those who have fallen prey to fake modifications and other housing fraud. Forbes recently highlighted three of the most common scams today:

1. Rental scams: Scammers illegally pull listing information from a home for sale and re-post it as a rental on another site, such as Craigslist. They’ll often ask for money upfront, in the form of a security deposit or broker fee, from prospective tenants. Scammers often advertise the home at a low price and collect application fees from several prospective tenants in order to hold the for them. 

Warning signs: Be cautious of wiring money or paying any upfront fee before you’ve met the agent or signed the contract. Also, be skeptical if they can’t show you the property when you ask.

2. Loan modification scams: Scammers may “fake foreclosure counseling, phony forensic loan auditing, nonexistent mass rejoinder lawsuits, bait-and-switch ploys, leaseback programs, and fraudulent ‘government’ modification programs,” Forbes reports.

Warning signs: Be skeptical if anyone asks for money for foreclosure counseling. Foreclosure counseling is free from agencies like the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Also, always contact your lender directly to work through a modification process. Don’t allow someone to do that on your behalf.

3. Workshop scams: An investment guru will host a get-rich-quick real estate investing seminar and have you sign up for a course that is free or low-cost. The investor may then give you actual to invest in if you offer up thousands of dollars in advance. They make bold promises that you’ll become a millionaire, but then nothing ever happens. Also, a form you may have signed initially to take the class may prevent you from taking legal action against the instructor to recoup your money. 

Warning signs: While not every workshop instructor is a scammer, be sure to out the program thoroughly before signing up. the company’s rating with the . Also, check if it’s linked to a reputable industry association.


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