Don’t Be a Victim! Spot Seller Impersonation Fraud.

Don't Be a Victim! Spot Seller Impersonation Fraud.

Buying a home is an exciting time, but it’s important to be aware of potential scams. One growing threat is seller impersonation fraud, where a criminal pretends to be the owner of a property to steal your money. At Continental Title Company, protecting your real estate transaction is our priority. So, let’s talk about what this scam involves and how you can be extra vigilant.

How Does it Work?

Fraudsters often target vacant properties or those owned by absentee owners. They’ll dig through public records and online listings. Here’s the typical scheme:

  • The Impersonation: The scammer poses as the seller, contacting you directly or through a real estate agent.
  • The Underpriced Deal: They advertise the property at a suspiciously low price and pressure you to act quickly.
  • The Remote Closing: They avoid in-person meetings and push for a remote closing with a notary they choose (who might be part of the scam).
  • The Money Grab: They trick you into wiring closing funds to a fraudulent account, leaving you with nothing but a stolen dream home.

How Common is Seller Impersonation Fraud?

Unfortunately, this type of fraud is becoming increasingly common. As real estate transactions move more online, criminals see new opportunities. 

Steps to Protect Yourself:

  • Be Wary of Unrealistic Deals: If a property seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t rush into anything.
  • Never Wire Money Directly to the Seller: Legitimate closings don’t involve unsecured wire transfers. Funds should be handled securely through your title company.
  • Let the Title Experts Do the Sleuthing: A reputable title company (ahem, Continental Title!) can investigate ownership records and conduct thorough background checks. This extra layer of security helps ensure you’re dealing with a legitimate seller. 
  • Trust Your Gut: If something feels off, don’t be afraid to walk away and report it to your real estate agent and potentially law enforcement.

Continental Title Company: Your Trusted Partner Continental Title Company takes seller impersonation fraud seriously, and we have the experience and expertise to safeguard your real estate transaction. Contact us today at any of our 17 locations across the Kansas City and St. Louis regions and learn about our proactive measures for facilitating smooth, secure closings.