A ballooning new scam involves scammers trying to rope people into believing that they are somehow involved in the purchase or sale of real estate.
Some of these attempts are juvenile but some are pretty sophisticated, such as including a certain amount of valid information, which may include contract disclosure documents regarding a for-sale property.
In one such case, a Lakeville Estates Civic Association member was contacted by email by a person who allegedly worked for a real estate law firm and was provided with a CD agreement document for an upcoming closing in Syosset.
The LECA member did not call the numbers listed in the email.
The diligent member did a web search on the property, finding out that the address was valid and actually for sale by a major real estate company. The member tried to contact the real estate listing agent a few times but never received a callback.
A web search also revealed that the law firm listed in the email did actually exist. The member contacted the law firm several times over several days to finally reach a person who confirmed that their staff and company information had been spoofed.
The company had not sent the CD or the email. As suspected, the email listed contact numbers did not connect to the law firm but likely to the scammer.
The law firm person further stated that they were dealing with a rush of fraudulent activity and that real estate companies and real estate attorneys and firms, in general, can often deal with hundreds of these incidents.
As the law firm was located in Suffolk, the firm had reportedly attempted to get the Suffolk DA involved but there are apparently too many of these types of cases for the DA to handle.
The Suffolk DA apparently only investigated incidents where people had actually lost $ and/or property to a scam. When the LECA member contacted the NC DA’s office, since the listed property was located in NC, the member was advised similarly by that office.
However, that need not be the end of it.
The Nassau County Police Department can make a suspicious activity report, and people can go onto the Nassau County DA’s website and download forms to fill out and send in to at least create an official record in case further follow-up is necessary.
As the law firm person noted, often these are juvenile attempts, but sometimes they are sophisticated and you just don’t know how much information scammers have or how far they are able to take things, you’ve got to protect yourself.
Submitted by the Lakeville Estates Civic Association