How to protect yourself from scams?

These days, online scams on real estate housing and individual plots of land are a growing concern. Many people are duped into buying a dream house that does not exist. One of the most common scam involves the scammer placing an advertisement of a vacant plot of land or any housing property on an online housing database. On responding to the advertisement placed, the scammer will ask for an immediate deposit of money as a token to book the property or the house. To entice the buyer, the scammer will say that in exchange for the up-front payment, the scammer will mail the buyer keys to the property shortly. Once the money has been sent, the buyer will find out that the keys will never arrive. This is how scams take place in short.

Here are some basic tips on how you can protect yourself from being scammed.

  1. Watch out for warning signs
    The warning signs are offers that are cheaper than the market rate which are too good to be true, on-going excuses as to why the buyer cannot get the property inspected, requiring an up-front fee via money transfer, absence of a landlord who is overseas and other reasons.
  1. Inspect the property in person before making any purchase
    Buying a property is no joke since it requires a considerable amount of investment. That is why, as a matter of precaution, no matter how real an advertisement of a property or house looks, the buyer should go and get the property inspected in person.
  1. Never transfer the money online without knowing the person even when the offer looks too tempting to resist. Until and unless you have personally inspected the property or have had a face-to-face meeting with the sales representative, never transfer the money.
  1. Do some research about the property
    Basic research such as online research of the property is a must before making any major decision of purchases. Other than these, research on the name of the person offering the property, their contact details, office address, identity verification etc are important factors to consider. Many scams can be identified this way.
  1. In order to ensure advertisements are real, use only reputable websites where both the buyer and seller are verified. The websites should have clear ratings, consumer reviews and warnings about scams.