Land scam and property scam are proving to be one major source that people lose their money fast to fraudsters these days. The fact that real estate investment makes a good investment has made land scam and property scam to be the toast of fraudsters. Millions if not billions of dollars have been lost to land and property scammers.
This article is written as part of my job as a forensic accountant (fraud fighter) to educate the general public on the activities of fraudsters and other criminals.
HOW IS LAND SCAM AND PROPERTY SCAM PERPETRATED?
In this section of the article are common characteristics of land scam and property scam so, I encourage you to read this section with rapt attention.
Too good to be true: scams in general sound too good to be true once your instinct tells you that an offer is too good to be true, just do your best to investigate the authenticity of the offer. Over 70% of the victims of fraud that I have interviewed admit that their instinct tells them that the offer sounds too good to be true and still go ahead to commit their hard earned money.
Element of sense of urgency: it is as if fraudsters go for training on how to make people believe that a situation is urgent and therefore require urgent attention and action. My standard advice for my clients is to try and exercise patients whenever an agent (land agent or property agent) ask you to forward your money as quickly as possible. One standard lie of theirs is ‘this property will be off if you don’t pay before tomorrow’ I am sure you don’t need me as a forensic accountant to be by your side to tell you that you are trading with the wrong people?
Issuance of fake land / property documents: land fraudsters and property fraudsters are known for issuing fake documents to their preys. You need to carryout your due diligence before entering into contract with any land or property agent. Be sure that he or she is registered with the appropriate regulatory authority. Business name registration unit is the place to go in order to be sure that you are actually dealing with a legal entity. You should however note that certain crooks still go ahead with sharp practices even after registering with the authorities. So, you will do yourself a lot of good by going one or two steps further.
Use of classified ads: perpetrators of land scam and property scams usually make use of classified ads to advertise their dirty business. Classified ads are those advertisements placed on those spaces of newspapers and other media tools. You will notice that one particular ad will run for a long period of time with the same sense of urgency and the same number of properties to let. Just run as far as you can from these kinds of adverts.
I am not in any way saying that all classified ads are fraud oriented but majority of fraudsters make use of this medium as there are relatively relaxed policy that governs the use of classified ads section.
HOW CAN ONE BE FREE FROM LAND SCAMMERS AND PROPERTY SCAMMERS?
The best way to be free from scam as a whole is to be educated about their operations and to resist temptation and greed.