California’s real estate market is massive and diverse, spanning from sunny beaches to snowy mountain ranges. This means there are a plethora of real estate options, from beachfront properties in Malibu, tech-driven hubs in Silicon Valley, to serene vineyards in Napa Valley. There are many cash buyers flooding these hotspots and creating bidding wars.
But legitimate buyers are not your only concern since real estate fraud is prevalent in today’s housing market. If you have faced any deceptive practices or suspect wrongdoing in a real estate transaction, it’s vital to report real estate fraud immediately! Not only does this step protect your rights, but it also shields others from becoming victims.
1. Document Everything
Before diving into the process to report real estate fraud, arm yourself with evidence. Gather all documentation—contracts, communication records, payment slips, and any other materials. This arsenal of proof will serve as the cornerstone when authorities begin their investigation.
Reporting real estate fraud should include the following:
- Communication Log: Every time you communicate with a bank, creditor, law enforcement agency, or any other entity about the fraud, make a note. Document the date, time, the person you spoke to, their title, and a summary of the conversation.
- Financial Statements: Highlight or flag any suspicious activity in your bank or credit card statements. Print these out or save digital copies in a secure location.
- Credit Reports: Obtain a copy of your credit report from all major credit bureaus. Review them for any unfamiliar accounts, inquiries, or debts.
- Letters/Bills: If you receive any bills or notices in the mail for unfamiliar accounts or purchases, keep the original documents. Make copies if you need to send them elsewhere.
- Digital Evidence: If you notice fraudulent activity via online portals or receive phishing emails, take screenshots. Make sure the screenshots capture the date, time, and any pertinent details.
Experiencing real estate fraud can be both distressing and overwhelming. Ensuring proper documentation is crucial in proving the fraud, reclaiming one’s financial security, and potentially catching the perpetrators!
2. Contact Local Law Enforcement
Your local police or sheriff’s department is the frontline defense against fraudulent activities. Report the real estate fraud details, ensuring you provide a comprehensive overview backed by your earlier documentation. In many instances, these local agencies either have specialized real estate fraud units or can guide you to the right channel.
3. Notify California Department of Real Estate (DRE)
Is a licensed real estate professional the alleged perpetrator? The California DRE becomes your go-to platform. Responsible for maintaining industry standards and licensee conduct, the DRE investigates complaints lodged against its members. Simply navigate their online portal to report real estate fraud or use their specified forms for a more traditional approach.
4. Warn Higher Entities
Specifically tailored to address property-related deceit, many Californian counties boast a dedicated Real Estate Fraud Unit within their District Attorney’s Office. By reporting real estate fraud to this specialized unit, you’re tapping into a team well-versed in the intricacies of such cases, ensuring thorough scrutiny and subsequent action.
For frauds casting wider nets, perhaps even encompassing multiple counties, the California Attorney General’s Office stands ready. While they might prioritize patterns affecting numerous consumers over individual cases, their intervention can be instrumental in dismantling large-scale scams.
Real estate fraud, in its more audacious forms, might breach state boundaries. In such scenarios, federal entities like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) step into the fray. These agencies specialize in handling expansive cases, especially those intricately woven with elements like internet scams or wire fraud.
5. Find Help
Beyond the tangible realm of legal battles and government reports, real estate fraud leaves emotional imprints. Everyone who has been through a situation where they needed to report real estate fraud has some level of emotional trauma to address whether it’s anger, humiliation, or sadness.
Sometimes, identity fraud can strain personal relationships, especially if the fraud involves the misuse of shared accounts or information, leading to mistrust and tension. It becomes essential for many victims to seek therapy or counseling to navigate the emotional hurdle that reporting real estate fraud creates.
Deldar Legal Difference
Real estate fraud can feel like a personal violation. Just as a burglary might leave someone feeling violated in their personal space, real estate fraud can leave victims feeling exposed and taken advantage of. The fear of making another wrong decision makes you hesitant about future investments or any significant financial decisions.
That’s why you need to report real estate fraud immediately and hire Deldar Legal to handle your case. Our team of experience real estate fraud attorneys help victims channel the emotional repercussions of their situation and empower them for the future. Give us a call at (844) 335-3271 and set up a free case evaluation or contact us online today!
Posted in: Real Estate Fraud