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In Response to Kristin:I would like to add to NEVER wire money to anyone! This is extremely common for these thugs, especially through Western Union. Meet the agent at their place of business and demand to see their Real Estate License issued by the Department of Real Estate.In San Diego, it was like the flood gates opened there for a while where vacant homes for rent or sale with signs in front where being fraudulently rented out to multiple victims through open type houses or the scammer would act like they were the listing agent and had the home open and acted like they had a key to open the door.
Also the scammer would replace the sign with his own sign and then the victims would show up and give deposits on site because of the great deal and urgency. Then people would show up to move in and there was no house to rent.You really have to be on your toes and one step ahead of them.Meet them at their ESTABLISHED place of business with permanent signs bolted to the exterior wall to exchange funds.You can also log onto the Department of Real Estate's web site at http://www.dre.ca.gov to find out the status of their license, which also gives the address of business of the designated broker (may have multiple locations).May seem extreme, but ask yourself, is the amount of deposit worth making a few checks to make sure you are dealing directly with the authorized agent in the transaction?If you are dealing directly with the owner, you can cross reference the name with the County Assessor's Office and ask the owner for their ID to make sure they match. Walk away if you can not meet them in person, the scammers online are always on a trip somewhere, that is why they can not meet up with you, yeah right!
They log onto Zillow all the time trying to grab the owner's name so they can set up their scams.What is scary is they are able to obtain our names as agents and then obtain the name of the homeowner from someone either trying to helpful or trying to score points to get a sell.There was an agent in my previous office where this happened three times on the same house and one even paid out a deposit that was wired, Ouch!I am totally scanning the net when I am selling or leasing property.Hope it worked out in your favor...
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