Using the Internet to avoid property scams

Each day seems to bring headlines of new property scams which have netted criminal gangs millions of dollars. They seem to be occurring from the USA to the UK, from Germany to Australia and everywhere else in between. Unfortunately, many of the scams are successful because those targeted are perhaps looking for a get rich quick scheme and forget that the Internet is a very useful way of checking the background of companies and individuals.

You don’t have to pay for expensive credit agencies as there is enough chitchat and background information on the Internet to see whether a company and the individuals you are dealing with are “real”.

Checking a company

It is not difficult to set up a company but it is as easy to check a company’s details on the Internet. Check to see that the address corresponds, individuals correspond, the company is trading correctly and there are no flags from the relevant regulators. While a company which passes all of these tests may still be involved in fraudulent activity it is the first of many investigations you should carry out. When checking out the actual company you are dealing with it is also advisable to check out parent companies and other associated companies probably connected through directorships.

Obviously, if you see any issues with the company in question this should start to ring alarm bells and make you think twice about going ahead with any transactions.

Checking individuals

In many ways this is where the power of the Internet comes into its own, the ability to check individuals both as directors and individuals in their own right. The chances are that a scam will revolve around a group of individuals who may well use fake names and fake addresses. One slight issue is the fact that you may be dealing with companies in a foreign land but this should not stop you from checking the background and history of the individuals on the Internet.

If you have been approach by fraudsters who have tried this scam before the chances are that others will have suffered financially. You can bet your bottom dollar they will not be slow in coming forward to name and shame these individuals and the companies they appear to represent. While forums need to be careful from a legal point of view, the structure of scams, the identity of fraudsters and the name of companies involved will still likely be available. Do not automatically walk into a deal with an individual because they promised the earth, do your homework, look at your own finances and ensure that all parties involved are investigated thoroughly.

If it looks too good to be true…..

In reality many of those who have suffered at the hands of fraudsters and lost millions of dollars through scams have in their heart of hearts known that the deals they were offered were “too good to be true”. Unfortunately these scammers are experts at preying on people’s weaknesses, promising them financial freedom and an escape from a life where finances are often stretched to the limit. However, if you feel you have been approach by a fraudulent company who may be attempting a scam, and the deal looks too good to be true, take a step back, think things through and then ignore their communications.

It is also worth noting that there are few responsible companies who will approach you directly about deals which you have never even asked about. The chances are you don’t even know these companies and their representatives from Adam. Be careful, the Internet has effectively opened a doorway for fraudsters to get into your offices, into your home and into your phone. However, used correctly it can be a godsend when checking out the background of individuals and companies you suspect may be trying to scam you.

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