Fraud Alert – Vacant Land Scam
Land Title Association of Colorado and the Colorado Association of REALTORS® have become aware of a new fraudulent scam that has quickly become more prevalent in the last month. In most instances it includes VACANT LAND. A fraudster locates a property and impersonates the owner of the property. They list the property for sale (typically as a “FSBO”) on various real estate syndication websites, looking for a buyer who wants a quick close. The “seller” communicates primarily via text or email and usually requires a mail-out closing. The “seller” signs the deed and has it notarized; it is not clear whether the “seller” is using a fraudulent notary, or whether they are presenting false identification to a legitimate notary. The fraudster will sometimes use the listing to connect with a trusted buyer’s broker before going under contract, which gives the transaction an additional air of legitimacy.
As a reminder these scams involve:
- Vacant Land that is being sold by non-owners. The fraudsters are looking for vacant land that is free and clear
- Fraudster typically wants a cash transaction and a quick close
- The seller states they are out of state and had a notary in that state notarize document
- Seller Communicates by text or email
Colorado real estate licensees should be aware that these folks are difficult to identify. If you get a call to list vacant land, be sure to do due diligence and check into the address of the Seller LLC with public records. Similarly, if you or your buyer identify FSBO opportunities matching the foregoing profile, parties should take additional steps to identify ownership.
If you suspect that you are a victim or see suspicious activity, please contact your local authorities and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation at email@example.com