Three tips to protect yourself against seller impersonation fraud

Whether you’re buying a home for personal use or an investment property in one of Arkansas’ many up-and-coming communities, it’s possible to view thousands of listings from the comfort of your own home. But once you get ready to make an offer, it’s always important to know who you’re dealing with before money starts changing hands. Seller impersonation fraud is on the rise, and an increasing number of criminals are posting real estate listings for properties they don’t actually own. The good news is that they’re no match for savvy buyers who take a few easy precautions!

Our team at First National Title (FNT) takes security seriously, and we’re here to ensure that you have professionals involved to assist you with each real estate transaction. We’re Arkansas’ largest independent title company with 25 locations to serve you, and you can always count on legendary service from our Team in or near your community. Here are a few easy tips to mitigate the associated risk of seller impersonation fraud as you proceed with your new home offer:

Review the listing carefully-You can’t afford to assume that real estate listings are fully vetted by the website carrying the listings. It’s not unheard of for motivated sellers in desperate need of cash to lower their asking price, but you should proceed with caution if a property seems drastically underpriced compared to comparable listings in the area.

Confirm the seller’s identity-The seller should be easy to track down even if he or she lives in another city or state. A reverse phone number search is a great first step to ensure that the number matches the seller’s name and address, and you might also send an introductory letter to the property address and the mailing address for the tax bill.

Trust your instincts-If the seller seems in a rush to close or provides wiring instructions for proceeds to a bank that isn’t geographically close to the property or the address for the tax bill, it warrants further investigation. If the seller can’t physically attend the closing, be sure you work closely with FNT and their title insurance underwriter to take precautions for this situation.

If you have any additional questions about seller impersonation fraud or title insurance, contact us online or at any of our 25 convenient Arkansas locations listed below!