If you think you are a victim of any of these real estate or mortgage scams, we recommend that you act immediately by following our guidelines below, and then proceed to our ReportRecover, and Reinforce sections for further assistance. A real estate or mortgage scam can affect your finances and hurt your credit history.

Some Immediate Action Steps to Take

  • Collect all relevant documentation related to the scam and keep them in a secure file. You may need to provide this documentation when you file a report.
  • Report fraudulent listings to the site where the ad was posted:
  • If you have wired money or made a payment and suspect it is a scam, contact your financial institution and/or the money service you used right away.
    • You can reach the complaint department of MoneyGram at 1-800-MONEYGRAM (1-800-666-3947) or Western Union at 1-800-325-6000.
  • File a police report with your local law enforcement agency.
  • For mortgage fraud help, call the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at 855-411-2372 or submit a complaint online
  • Contact your State Consumer Protection Office for help.

Report

Reporting cybercrime incidents to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is very important! The more national reporting data that is collected, the better the chance law enforcement has to catch the criminals and decrease online crime. Although the FBI does not resolve individual complaints directly, they will make your report available to local, state and other law enforcement partners. The FAQs about reporting can be found here. Please read the FBI/IC3 privacy policy here. (If you believe that you’ve received a phishing email, please forward the email directly to spam@uce.gov and
reportphishing@apwg.org.)

Recover

These resources have been gathered, selected and vetted to help simplify the process of recovering after a cybercrime incident has taken place. You may need to contact organizations outside Fraudsupport.org. Results will vary depending on your circumstances.

Reinforce

Once you have notified the appropriate organizations and you are on the road to recovery, it is time to reinforce your cybersecurity using these resources and tools.

Implement Preventive Measures

  • Check your credit report regularly for any suspicious activity. For a free copy of your credit report go to annualcreditreport.com.
  • Don’t share your Social Security number unless absolutely necessary — provide alternative information when possible.
  • Avoid giving out your Social Security number or other private information over the phone unless you initiated the contact or have already established trust.
  • When signing the paperwork, make sure you read through all documents thoroughly and understand the terms. If you don’t understand, ask questions.
  • Be cautious of anyone who makes guarantees to stop a foreclosure, asks for money up front, or tells you to make your mortgage payments to them. These are all signs of a scam.
  • Be sure websites are secure before submitting your Social Security number or personal information. Find out how to spot a fake website.
  • If the person renting or selling the property will NOT send you pictures, let you see it in person, and talk to you on the phone, it is probably a scam.
  • DO NOT send money to someone unless you can confirm they are real and have a real property for you to rent/buy.