In the process of providing home loans in the Rockingham, Kwinana and Baldivis areas, we hear a hot of “horror stories” about property scams. Even nowadays, with tight regulations and instantaneous transfer of information across the world via the Internet, many Australians still fall prey to property scams. Worse yet, there are a lot of other scams besides property scams.
Some of the scammers go to great lengths to make their scams look legitimate, but the bottom line is that if an opportunity looks “too good to be true,” it is probably too good to be true. Here are some techniques scammers use and what you can do to stay safe.
Telemarketers usually get paid on how many deals they can close. This accomplishes two things for the scammers. First, it ensures that the telemarketers will say anything they have to so they can close a deal. Second, it ensures that the scammers don’t have to share a large share of their proceeds or pay money to employees in advance.
The beauty of this approach is that the telemarketers don’t know it’s a scam. They think it is legitimate and believe they are selling you a “great opportunity.”
It is incredibly easy to make email offers. These will often say they are coming from legitimate companies, but they aren’t. Many will impersonate your bank and ask you to “confirm” account information and passwords. If you receive an email that doesn’t look right, just delete it.
Scammers will send out invitations to free seminars in which you will receive the “training” to “get rich now.” The free seminar is just a sales pitch for an expensive one. When you go to the expensive seminar, you leave excited, but are eventually disappointed. Why? The information always sounds great, but never works once you try it.
Legitimate Company Names
Scammers will often represent themselves as being from legitimate and large organisations. It may be your bank. It may be a trusted investment firm. Remember: just because the caller says they work for a trusted company doesn’t mean they actually work for that company.
How to Keep from Getting Scammed
Call a Professional Agent or Broker
There are a lot of things you can do to keep from being scammed. If the scam involves real estate, it is easy. Tell them you will only do it through your own real estate agent. Call a legitimate real estate agent and have them work with you on the property. You can also contact a mortgage broker who knows the business and see what they think.
Do Not Call Register
Put your name and number on the do not call register. Most calls are made by automated dialers. Numbers on the do not call register are not usually in the database. If you do get called, say you are on the register and report them if they call again.
Tell Everyone You Know
Well, maybe not everyone, but close. Make sure to tell friends, family and co-workers about persistent telemarketers or emailers who might be scammers. Spread it on social media. Blog about it if you have a blog.
The bottom line is just to not listen. If you give a clever scammer as much as ten seconds of your attention, they can “hook” you. All scammers make offers that sound too good to be true. If you are having a weak moment and feel greedy, you can easily fall for the scam.
Ask yourself this question: “If a deal is ‘too good to be true,’ then why does a company have to call you or email you?” Shouldn’t it be you who is beating down their door to get them to do business with you instead of the other way around?
Legitimate investments and “deals” are going to come from legitimate businesses or individuals via the regular channels. If you are looking for property, see a real estate agent.
For more information or for a home loan, call Smartline Rockingham: (08) 9527 1800.