Whether we like it or not, the authorities can put in place layers of regulation, publish warning after warning but unfortunately many people still fall for property scams. These scams can involve tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds and leave some people destitute with no recourse. While tools such as the Internet obviously play a major role in the everyday life of people around the world they also offer a direct route into your home. So, how do you protect yourself from property scams?
Does it look too good to be true?
One of the simplest ways to protect yourself from any scam is to take a step back, look at the situation in the cold light of day and ask yourself – is it too good to be true?
If hand on heart it does look too good to be true then either you do not have all of the details or it is a potential scam. If your head says leave it alone but your heart says chase it then go with your head. Do not let emotion get in the way of any property investments and try to look at everything in the cold light of day.
One of the most popular strategies that criminals use when looking to “scam” people out of property, money and assets is to encourage them to cut costs by not engaging professional advice. They will give you pamphlets, they will show your websites and they will possibly forward feedback from “satisfied customers” but when you mention professional advice, what do they say then?
The simple fact is that any professional adviser will be able to check property ownership, third-party offerings and give you their unbiased opinion. For a relatively small amount of money you can confirm that an “offer too good to be true” is real or it is a scam. However, do not forget that sometimes extremely attractive offers will fall into your lap but even if on the surface they look in order you must still take professional advice.
The tip of the iceberg
While the millions and millions of pounds which are effectively stolen from inexperienced and gullible people around the world are bad enough, experts believe this is only the tip of the iceberg. If you have lost tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of pounds through a well orchestrated scam, would you be slightly embarrassed? The reality is that scams today are well thought out and in some circumstances extremely “believable” but victims are often embarrassed once they realise they have been scammed and many do not report such crimes.
We can only estimate the actual amount of money which is stolen from people, and businesses, each and every year by the scammers. It is unfortunate that many choose not to take simple advice through a professional third party, not advice through parties recommended by those offering you the deals, which could save them heartache and massive financial loss.
Scams work by finding inexperienced and potentially gullible people who may themselves be in a difficult financial situation. However, do not lose sight of the array of professional advisers out there who will instantly recognise a scam when they see it. It may cost you a few hundred pounds for this advice but with a potential loss of tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of pounds, surely it is a small price to pay?