LOS ANGELES, CA – Real estate soliciting scams are on the rise all across the country. According, to the Local Records Office in Los Angeles County, California solicitors are scamming homeowners out of $90 and, even $100 for a simple copy of the deed is outrageous. Homeowners across the U.S. are being victims of mortgage wire fraud during the pandemic.
The Local Records Office has received multiple letters on how new homeowners have been complaining to law enforcement and even the district attorney about the issue. This is quickly becoming a serious issue; unfortunately, most scammers get away since phony addresses and phone numbers are used.
Soliciting scams have gotten so bad in some U.S. cities that the district attorneys have issued warnings on what to look out for and how not to be a victim of deceptive mailings. The Local Records Office announced that real estate soliciting scams usually focus on victimizing the elderly by making the socializing letter look like an official government document.
In 2021 buying or selling property requires transferring title with a deed and then recording it in the real estate records of the county in which the house or apartment is located. The original deed will be given back to the owner so he or she can keep it in a safe place.
The Local Records Office created a list of different ways to protect yourself and your family from real estate deed soliciting scams.
How to Spot a Deed Scam?
Real estate deed soliciting scams usually happen by mail and email. The scammers will send an official-looking document (letter) to homeowners who have recently refinanced a mortgage, transferred title to a home, or bought or sold a house. It has been reported that people who recently bought or sold a condo have received these types of letters too.
When a homeowner needs a certified copy of the property records he or she can obtain them from the local county records office in the area. Keep in mind that you should always keep the original deed and important records in a safe place like a safety deposit box or a safe box.
What’s A Mortgage Wire Fraud?
Mortgage fraud is simple, the hacker or scammer will pose as a real estate agent or broker and will get the victim to divert closing costs to a fraudulent bank account. This is done by a method called phishing. The phishing technique is sneaky but straightforward.
In a phishing scam, the scammer will pose as your real estate agent by using an email and or phone number similar to your lender. A great example that the Local Records Office used is of a fake website. The real website will be www.example.com while the fake website might be www.exxample.com. By adding the extra X on the URL the victim will be sent to a completely different website.
These types of websites are all over the Internet and can cause a lot of trouble. Unfortunately, there are too many for the FBI to shut down.
Spoofing is another way crooks can make themselves seem legitimate. Spoofing is a technique that is used to mimic the real estate agent or lender; according to the Local Records Office victims are now being sent text messages too. Most of these problems are being caused in cities like Carson City, NV, Tallahassee, FL, Atlanta, GA, and others.
The goal of a mortgage wire fraud is to get the homebuyer to send the money to a certain account.
Beware of Official Government Looking Bills
A study by the Local Records Office shows that the easiest way to know who sent you the letter or document is to see if the company or business is an official government office. Always Google the business or company and see if you spot bad reviews online. Keep in that having solely negative reviews doesn’t make a business a scam business. Department of Motor and Vehicles across the United States have negative reviews and that doesn’t make them a scam business. Harrisburg, PA, and Pekin, IL are the biggest victims of fraud at this time.
Google the Scam Company’s Business Name
Scam companies will usually have large amounts of negative reviews and comments on different websites, social media, and Yelp.
Scam artists are getting extremely good with making a soliciting letter look like an official government document using various things like government logos, bogus bills, and even letters warning homeowners about a payment.
Government-looking bills are a serious threat for elderly homeowners who might think they are being billed. The bogus letter will say things like “official”, “U.S. Government”, “Warning” and various keywords of that nature. Naturally, someone who receives a letter containing these words will automatically think it’s from the housing authority or government agency.
If you need an official copy of your deed to go to your local county office or if you need a detailed history report of your property the Local Records Office offers a complete up-to-date property history for as low as $89.00.
COVID-19 Pandemic and EDD Scams
The COVID-19 pandemic has given a new path to fraud and scams. The Employment Development Department is also known as EDD has seen a drastic spike in unemployment fraud. Unemployment fraud has gotten so bad that even inmates are taking part in it.
People who have been caught on conspiracy to do fraud have told investigators they obtained people’s information on the black market.
Sometimes it’s from tax return offices that sell customers’ information while other times information is obtained at apartment leasing offices where renters require to file personal data like social security numbers and tax information.
Once the application is filed and approves the scammers will change the address to an abandoned house or a location where they can have access to the mailbox.
Across the country, people are desperate for the coronavirus vaccine that scammers are sending phony emails and texts to see who can net in. The Federal Trade Commission is tracking a large number of COVID-19 frauds since the onset of this pandemic.
The FTC has received over 338,060 COVID-19 consumer report scam calls and $319M in fraud.
Company Name: Local Records Office
Contact Person: Roberto Romero
Phone: 1 (800) 790-0721
Address:2202 S. Figueroa St. #406
City: Los Angeles
State: CA 90007
Country: United States