Real estate professionals issue scam alert

RICHMOND—Across Virginia and in neighboring states, real estate licensees are seeing a sharp increase in scams involving fraudulent buyers and sellers.

In this latest scam, criminals are contacting real estate agents to list properties they do not own. Typically, the criminals are looking to sell properties that do not have a mortgage—commonly in the form of vacant lots—below market value, for cash, and quickly. By targeting properties that do not have a mortgage or other lien, scammers hope to complete the transaction before the true owner gets tipped off by the lender.

These criminals often claim some sort of emergency is keeping them stuck abroad or out of the area to explain why they are looking to sell so . . . .

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