The National Federation of Real Estate Agencies (FAI) warns about cyber-scams in the real estate sector due to the weakness of the housing rental market, as some real estate agents who have been victims of these scams have denounced and brought to the attention of the federation.
The most recent case, about which the group has become aware, has been in the Community of Madrid, in which the fraudster copied from a web portal an advertisement for a house in Alcorcón, generating his own and offering as a guarantee a receipt with the falsified logo of a real estate company located in this same town; although it is not the only one they claim.
The modus operandi followed by the fraudsters in all the cases about which FAI has been notified is the same or similar. The scammers enter portals and web pages, copy images from advertisements of properties for rent and use the logo and even, in some cases, the e-mail and name of real estate agencies, to advertise them later at a lower price.
In this way, they generate credibility in the tenants and ask for amounts in advance with the excuse of the reservation or for having a priority right in the visit of the same one. However, in reality, they are paying a person who does not own the house or the real estate agent hired for it.
We must be very careful because this type of fraudulent practice has intensified at a time when the rental market is very tense, due to the low supply, which leads to the desperation of potential tenants and makes them more vulnerable to end up being victims of deception. In fact, they recall that the police already warned of a ‘boom’ of scams linked to the rent, at a time when prices are rising.
Faced with this situation, it is necessary to ensure and comply with all security protocols to protect themselves from cybercriminals and the need to report identity theft to avoid any kind of liability.
At the same time, it is important that potential tenants, the main injured party, use common sense, and make sure of all the details, since in most cases housing is offered with all kinds of benefits and at unusually low prices.
In this regard, I recommend that you be wary of payments that you may be asked to make in advance, that you physically go to the property in question to check that it exists and is rented, and that you always ask for and check the identity of the real estate agent who is accredited to do so.