Justin Woodall profile image

By Justin Woodall

Justin is a Christ follower, husband, and father of 3 children. He began selling real estate in 2004 as an individual agent and now leads a team of a highly productive agents serving Athens and the surrounding areas.

Is it possible for someone to steal a piece of real estate? Unfortunately, a recurring scam has been on the rise, targeting both seasoned and new real estate agents. This scheme involves scammers posing as property owners. Today, we’ll shed light on this troubling trend and provide essential tips to safeguard your property.

The scam typically begins with impostors reaching out to real estate agents, pretending to be the legitimate owners of a property. Through email or text communication, they engage in contracts with unsuspecting buyers who believe the deal is genuine. These scammers attempt to sell the property and collect the proceeds without the true owner’s knowledge.

It’s crucial to note that this scam is particularly prevalent with vacant lots or real estate lacking a security deed or mortgage. The perpetrators exploit the absence of these protective measures, making it easier for them to deceive potential buyers.

Some incidents have even reached the point of wiring money for a property that was fraudulently sold. One close call occurred near Athens, where the scam almost succeeded, but vigilant intervention prevented a financial disaster. In that case, the scammers had managed to record the deed, but swift action allowed for a retraction and recovery of the situation.

“This scam is particularly prevalent with vacant lots or real estate lacking a security deed or mortgage.”

To protect yourself from falling victim to such scams, especially if you own a mortgage-free property, here are some proactive steps you can take:

1. Stay vigilant. Regularly monitor your property, even if you don’t reside locally. Look out for any unexpected signage or online listings that might indicate unauthorized attempts to sell your property.

2. Check deed records. Utilize resources like the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority (GSCCCA) website (gsccca.org) to keep an eye on deed transfers. While there may be associated fees, it’s a small price to pay for the security of your property.

3. Title insurance. Consider investing in title insurance, which provides an additional layer of protection against fraudulent property transactions. This can be especially beneficial if you don’t want to rely solely on legal avenues for restitution.

For added convenience, if you’re a client or have worked with our agency, we’re happy to assist you in checking deed records through our account.

Remember, awareness is your best defense against these scams. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and take the necessary precautions to ensure that your property remains secure. If you suspect any fraudulent activity or need assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out and call or email trusted professionals in the real estate industry. Let’s work together to keep these scammers at bay and protect our valuable assets.

Gain an Advantage Over Other Buyers, Sellers, and Investors. Seller tips for selling fast and for the best price and buyer tips for finding the best deals in the Athens, GA area. Request a Consultation