South Carolina Real Estate Fraud Could Hurt Property Owners and The Market
On Wednesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned South Carolina homeowners and prospective renters that a new real estate fraud scam was in town.
According to FBI special agent Dave Thomas, victims are being contacted by an individual in a foreign country, either by email or by phone. The individual is asking them to send money to an unknown third party, overseas.
The real estate fraud scammers search for home sales and rental property online, then copy pictures and descriptions of the property and put the ads on Craigslist.
Agent Thomas recommends that potential property buyers or renters never wire money prior to seeing the property and meeting with the owners or business people involved. Complaints can be directed to the FBI at http://www.ic3.gov.
The real estate fraud perpetrators might be taking advantage of South Carolina’s rebounding real estate market. Earlier this month, the state reported an overall 24% increase in property sales, which shows wonderful, rebounding economic growth in the state. Greenville, SC reported that October saw a 35% rise in home and property sales, while Charleston saw a 30.7% increase, and Columbia, a 29.7% increase.
“The economy is slowly growing and economic growth in 2013 is expected to outpace 2012. Mortgage rates are expected to remain near historic lows through 2015; rents are expected to rise due to low vacancy; and financial situations in Europe, China and elsewhere, believe it or not, have an effect on local markets,” the Realtor’s Association said, adding that 2012 is shaping up to be a “comeback year.”
Real Estate Fraud Tough to Bear in the Wake of South Carolina’s Hack Attack
With all the news swirling about the hack attack against South Carolina’s Department of Revenue, the news about the new real estate fraud scam could potentially hurt South Carolina’s real estate market. South Carolina residents are already fearful that their personal information has been stolen, even with the state’s offer of free credit protection for one year.
However, it is important that residents know to be aware of potential further dangers to their bank accounts and credit, especially in light of the DOR’s error.
South Carolina residents can still sign up for the credit protection services. People can sign up by calling 1-866-578-5422 or by going towww.protectmyid.com/scdor and using the activation code “scdor123.” The call center is open 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM EST on Monday through Friday and 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM EST on Saturday and Sunday.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help Victims of Real Estate Fraud
The United States Code criminalizes, “any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses” involving the U.S. Mail system. Bank fraud is also a very serious crime, and involves making false statements to banks, deceiving the bank, forging check signatures, or embezzlement. The law broadly defines wire fraud as devising or intending to devise a scheme to defraud others of money or property under false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises by means of electronic communications, or “wires.”
Any one of these charges can be serious. It is also terrible if you are the victim of any of these. If you suspect you are the victim of fraud, including mail fraud, real estate fraud, and bank fraud, the experienced lawyers at Strom Law, LLC can help. We specialize in these types of criminal defense, so please contact us today for a free consultation. 803.252.4800.