Fraud can be understood as the use of dishonest methods to benefit economically from a person. In the real estate industry, many people may be victims of fraud unknowingly. Fraud in the industry can be perpetuated by mortgage brokers and agents, real estate companies and brokers and other professionals in the sector. The targets of these fraudsters are mostly the elderly and owners of homes who are already in foreclosure. Since the real estate industry is vibrant in the city, scammers and fraudsters are bound to be on the prowl. It is, therefore, advisable to be extra vigilant when undertaking any transaction in the industry.
The Toronto Police Service has a dedicated financial crimes section that deals with all manner of financial misdeeds including those in the real estate sector. If you have been a victim of real estate fraud, you are advised to make your way to the Toronto Police Service at 40 College Street in Toronto for assistance. The service promises to handle all victims of financial fraud with dignity and to conduct thorough investigations. You can also contact the main Toronto Police switchboard using the number 416-808-2222.
The Toronto Community Housing Corporation is a major player in the real estate sector in Toronto. The corporation has over 58,000 units occupied by more than 164,000 tenants. This makes the corporation and the tenants, easy victims of real estate fraud. To counter this, the company has hired a reporting service that is secure and independent, allowing the tenants to report any case of fraud. The service is called SECURaLINE and allows users to send messages by telephone or on the internet anonymously.
Various ways in which real estate fraud happens are listed below.
This can happen when a company gets information about potential buyers and sellers of homes. The company will then directly market land to the sellers, promising them of huge returns once the sellers agree to purchase the land from the company. The land that these companies pose to the sellers is usually unimproved, having acquired I for very low amounts of money. The company sells it at an exorbitant price, but the sellers never learn of this.
Fraudsters search for homeowners who are facing a cash crunch and are behind on their payments. The fraudsters offer to save the desperate mortgage holders. In exchange, the mortgage holder is convinced to transfer the title to the company on a “temporary” basis. After obtaining the title, the company then sells the property, and the owner is left paying the mortgage.
Illegal flipping occurs when one buys property and then quickly sells it way above the property’s value in the market. Flipping for profit is acceptable, but illegal flipping is a crime.
This happens when original data about a property is used in another advert purporting to offer the same property. After responding to these adverts, buyers or renters are convinced by the fraudsters to meet in another location away from the site claiming that they are busy. The victims come to learn later that they have been duped.
Home improvement scams often come in the form of deals that are too good to ignore. Such companies will offer cheap deals to make various improvements on your house. They will urge you to pay in the form of cheque promising to come and undertake the work. After paying them, you might never hear from them again.
A fraudster steals a person’s identity and uses the data to fill mortgage documents. The fraudster also forges the name of the victim on the deed and then takes the property’s equity.
It is important to be on the lookout for fraudsters and scammers in the real estate sector. One may be a victim without being aware. It is advisable to read on the various ways to prevent oneself from real estate fraud.