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MEMBER ALERT: Warning of Bogus Buyers in Real Estate Transactions

We recently received a report of a ‘bogus buyer’ who was looking at high-dollar properties and has quite the story of how they acquired the money to purchase such homes.

In all cases, it is important to practice due diligence and ensure you verify the identity of a prospective client. Some of the ways you can do that are:

  • Confirm all documentation (ie: driver’s license, government-issued-ID) to ensure identity, especially if you don’t meet the client in person and are dealing exclusively via email or text message.

  • Avoid sending or sharing sensitive information via email.

  • Trust your instinct. If something seems off with the client or transaction, practice further due diligence before proceeding.

  • Verify with the bank that the funds have cleared before completing a transaction.

Some red flags that may help identify a fake buyer are:

  • They have an extensive story of how they acquired the money.

  • The buyer only makes contact via email and/or text message.

  • The buyer is willing to trust an agent they found on the internet without having a conversation or meeting in person.

  • The buyer wants to purchase a property sight unseen, sometimes in a community that they know nothing about. The buyer may also omit to ask questions that a typical buyer would ask.

  • They may be eager to overshare financial arrangements or provide official-looking documentation, such as forged bank letters.

Be aware that these scams can be extremely convincing, and are becoming more frequent, and are constantly evolving. Always report this type of fraudulent activity to the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) or FBI. Also, sign up for email alerts with the DOJ's Scam Alert Network. Being vigilant, thinking critically, and using best practices for knowing your client is the best defense against fraud.

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