Bulletins

FRAUD ALERT - Remain Vigilant While Handling Vacant Land Transactions

2 MIN
 READ

ATGF has become aware of a new fraudulent scam that has quickly become more prevalent.

If you are handling a "vacant land" real estate transaction, ensure your agency remains vigilant and wary of possible risks.

Process

The fraudster will locate property, impersonate the owner, and list the property for sale (typically as FSBO) on various real estate syndication websites, looking for a buyer who wants a quick close.

The "seller" communicates primarily via text or email and usually requires a mail-out closing. The "seller" signs the deed and has it notarized; it is not clear whether the "seller" is using a fraudulent notary or whether they are presenting false identification to a legitimate notary. The fraudster will sometimes use the listing to connect with a trusted buyer's broker before going under contract, which gives the transaction an additional air of legitimacy.

As a reminder these scams involve:

  • Vacant Land that is being sold by non-owners. The fraudsters are looking for land that is free and clear
  • Typically want a cash transaction and a quick close
  • The seller states they are out of state and had a notary in that state notarize document
  • Seller communicates by text or email

Please be aware that these folks are difficult to identify.  If you identify FSBO opportunities matching the foregoing profile, parties should take additional steps to identify ownership.

If you suspect that you are a victim or see suspicious activity, please contact your local authorities.

About Attorneys Title Guaranty Fund, Inc.
Founded in 1960, ATGF provides best in class title insurance underwriting and services for more than 60 years. The company's mission is helping agents succeed through trusted products and services, innovative technology and amazing support. The company currently pursues this mission by underwriting, training and supporting agents in Colorado, Utah, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nevada, and Arizona.  ATGF has maintained a strong Financial Stability Rating(r) (FSR) of A, Exceptional, from the independent rating agency, Demotech, Inc.
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