Fraud when buying an apartment

Fraud when buying an apartment

It offers the most popular ways of real estate fraud. Practically all of them are connected with forgery of title documents and the introduction of false information in the state register of property rights to real estate.


The use of fake documents is one of the highest risks to be victim to fraudsters when buying real estate. Sometimes it is impossible. Criminals use fake seals of utilities, state registrars, notaries, district courts of the city and even the Ministry of Justice. Under such schemes, even communal property can be sold. In addition, expired and invalid power of attorney for the sale of housing may be used.

Inclusion of false data in the state registry

Every country has a state register of property rights to real estate, where data about owners are entered. Fraudsters can even before the sale of housing make legal it on false documents in the electronic state registry. The missing ones are provided for registration by notaries.

The risks of such a transaction are extremely high. The contract of sale is focused primarily on information from the state register. The transaction will take place, but in the future may be appealed by the real owners.

Fraudsters choose housing that remains after single people, when the next of kin may simply not be aware of the death of the owner. In this case, the responsibility for the verification of documents falls on the notary certifying suspicious contracts.

Criminal acts are also made in reverse order, namely illegal access to electronic credentials. After these apartments are promptly put up for sale by different people. Real owners will find out about the fraud after the fact, when a court decision was already required to suspend transactions and impose arrest.

How to avoid fraud in buying and selling real estate

Experts give some tips on how to protect yourself when making transactions of purchase and sale.

  1. Order legal support of the transaction, find out about the selected apartment maximum information: how many times it has changed owners recently, there are any decisions to arrest this property, other court decisions about it. Doubts should cause its transfer to the property by a court decision, the change of several owners, the sale of power of attorney (when there is no direct connection with the owner) and other real estate transactions before sale.
  2. Require the presence of the real owner in the transaction and during inspections. Carefully check personal documents. So you can insure yourself against further legal claims that the owner was not aware of the upcoming sale.
  3. Make a deal for the full amount, avoid partial payment, installments, unconfirmed by notarized documents.

Fraud when renting

Fraudsters are also active in the rental market, tricking in other people’s apartments or luring money from their victims. When long-term renting, criminals often use a common scheme: they rent housing (daily or 1-2 months), after which they rent housing to several tenants as soon as possible and disappear.

As a result, both deceived clients and the landlord remain to be affected, and he/she has to prove his/her non-participation in the fraud. Such frauds bring great profits to attackers, because the victims of fraudsters, as a rule, pay for the first and last month of their stay, often paying a deposit for the safety of their property.

When renting by the day, scam artists strongly advise to pay a deposit for renting an apartment. . To prove their words, fraudsters send fake copies of documents for housing to the post office or instant messenger. Most often, this is a modified editor for drawing out real estate property rights from the state register, as well as a fake passport screen with a photo found on the Internet. After transferring money to a bank card, deceived customers can neither settle down nor reach the cheaters.

How to avoid fraudsters when renting

Simple and effective advice will help tenants protect themselves from scammers by choosing housing for rent.

  1. Check all available documents. Pay attention to the form of ownership, the number of owners. Check if they all agree to renting an apartment.
  2. Make a copy and check the owner’s documents. Compare them with the data in the documents on the apartment.
  3. Conclude a standard rental agreement; ask to attach copies of homeowner’s documents to it.
  4. Try to check the history. Punch the address on real estate ad sites to see how long they have been looking for tenants. It may be possible to find reviews about the owners.
  5. Agree on a full payment only at the time of arrival. If the owners insist on a pledge or prepayment, make the minimum possible amount.
  6. Do not pay a deposit or deposit on the card. Remember that prepaying for unspecified service increases the chances of fraudsters. Check the housing photos through the search to see if the images match the specified address and object.

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