Real Estate Scams: AI Has Entered the Chat
One involves a fake seller who convinces a buyer or agent that they own a property they want to sell quickly. A variation: fake landlords who trick potential renters out of deposits for a non-existent rental.
This scam is being refined by criminals using AI apps to create convincing fake emails, texts, voicemails, and even videos. One newer method of scamming is the use of deepfakes—highly realistic false images and videos of people, objects, and scenes—to advertise properties for sale or lease. Deepfake technology can even impersonate agents, landlords, lenders, or consumers.
AI writing tools are another favorite of scammers. These are used to craft fake emails and correspondence with wiring changes that divert a victim's down payment to the scammer's account. Writing tools have helped scammers based in other countries to eliminate badly written messages, which was (and is) a reliable way to ID a scammer.
To avoid loss to AI-wielding criminals:
- Establish clear procedures for your clients, staff, and vendors to follow when a scam is suspected.
- Verify all transaction details independently.
- Create unique passphrases for your clients when delivering documents.
- Search property records and research properties using sites like Google Maps, Streetview, and Lens.
* Specific loan program availability and requirements may vary. Please get in touch with your mortgage advisor for more information.