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Buying or Selling a Home in Pensacola Florida Watch Out for these Scams/Fraud
I sat down with Shawn McCorkle of Surety Land Title here in Pensacola, Florida. We will go over a couple of scams that are common in the real estate world. And one that is common is the warranty deed scam. After you close and you move into your house, you get an official looking document that says, "We can send you a copy of your warranty deed. Just fill out this paperwork." Usually you will get at least one, you might get two letters. It looks very official like Jack said and it says, "You need a copy of your warranty deed. Send us $75 and fill out this card and we'll send it to you." Do not do that. When you close with anybody in town, you will get your original warranty deed back from that office several weeks after the closing. Once it is recorded and has the tax stamps and everything on there, you will get the original back from the clerk of court. And so you'll have that warranty deed, you don't have to pay for a copy of it. And if you ever wanted a separate copy go down to the clerk of courts and pay them $10 and they will give you a copy of it yourself. This type of scam happens on almost every single refinance or closing that you have out there but do not fall for it. But there is a lot of ways people try to scam you out there especially in closings. And another scam/fraud that has been around for a few years now is wire fraud. Oh yeah. Yeah. That's been growing by leaps and bounds. We have regular cases in Pensacola and surrounding markets of people trying to commit wire fraud during closings. The thing you want to make sure of is if you are closing and you have to wire money or have money wired to you, you communicate directly with your closing company or your closing attorney to get those instructions or to get those instructions from them. Don't take them from your realtor, don't take them from anybody else. And if you ever need to change those instructions make sure to call the closing company yourself and talk to them. If we ever get a change on closing instructions from the initial direction we are supposed to stop immediately, pick up the phone, call that person, ask them, "Did you just send me this?" And so, we have seen that happen several times, even family members defrauding other family members that have been trusted in the transaction. They might call and say, "My mom wants to put it in a separate account. I'll send you that information." Well, if it's the mom's closing, the mom needs to be the one who says, "Hey, I want it to go into that account." So, you've got to take extra care to make sure that you're not suffering any fraud with that money. Because the bad guys are out there. Yeah everywhere. Yeah they are. Isn't that sad? It's sad. It's horrible.
They're phishing out there and they're looking for emails that might talk about real estate transactions and then they might copy the letterhead or the signature part of the email and then use that to get to you and take your money. So, those people need to be prosecuted heavily. I get several emails a week from fake loan officers sending me packages for this person or title request orders for another person. I know they're all fake. There is always something that gives them away. If you carefully look at those emails something is misspelled, one letter is missing. There is something fishy about it. But always when in doubt pick up the phone, call that person, talk to them. Call our closing agent at Surety Land Title in Pensacola. That i's what you need to do if you have any doubt at all. I'm sure this is helpful information for you if you're in the market to purchase a home invest in real estate or sell your home and have money that's going to be wired to you. Hopefully this information is very helpful for you. This is Jack Lara with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Main Street Properties in Pensacola Florida and Shawn McCorkle, Surety Land Title.