Avoid Online Money Scams Targeting Unsuspecting Homebuyers 

 Posted on January 12, 2023 in Real Estate

cook county real estate lawyerWhen people buy a home - especially when it is their first home - they are often so caught up in the excitement and joy of such an exciting experience that they rarely are on the lookout for scams that are specifically targeting unsuspecting Illinois homebuyers. Yet an entire industry of criminals exists who are thinking up ever more sophisticated ways of scamming people out of the money they worked hard to save so they could buy a home. If you are buying a home, especially for the first time, it is essential to understand some of the most common scams homebuyers face and how an Illinois real estate lawyer can help protect you from them. 

How Do Scammers Target Homebuyers? 

One of the most common ways that homebuyers suffer financial fraud is when a criminal poses as the client’s realtor by tracking the realtor’s email correspondence and seizing opportunities to send a homebuyer false information so earnest money or closing funds get wired to the scammer instead of the bank or the realtor. 

To avoid this, make sure you talk to a trusted person so you can get and give sensitive information while hearing their voice - not just over email - and get details about how to send any money very carefully. Usually, once money is wired, it is gone; if a scammer receives it, he or she will take it and disappear. Have an attorney review any financial transactions before you send them so you have a second pair of eyes checking these major transfers. 

Other common types of mortgage scams include, but are not limited to: 

  • Scams aimed at homebuyers who are seeking debt relief through loan modification

  • Reverse mortgage scams in which the scammer receives part or all of the payments that are intended to draw on the homeowner’s equity

  • Fraudulent real estate agents 

  • Loan flipping, or repeatedly refinancing loans to generate fees for the lender 

  • Excessive loan fees made by lenders preying on people who do not know better

  • Undisclosed prepayment penalties 

  • Balloon payments in which large amounts of money are due at the end of a loan

Although not all of these scams are illegal, they can cause great financial and personal harm to the people who fall victim to them. To avoid scams or fraud of any kind during the homebuying process, make sure you have help from a real estate attorney. 

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Cook County Real Estate Lawyer

Every year, hackers and other ne’er-do-wells find more sophisticated ways of taking advantage of people who are just trying to buy a home for their family. For help avoiding scams and ensuring the entire home buying process goes smoothly, contact the team of Illinois real estate attorneys with Whitacre & Stefanczuk LTD at 773-622-6100. We offer free consultations and speak fluent Polish. 




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