Back To Blog

Be Cautious of Fake Real Estate Listings - If it's too good to be true.... it probably is!

In today’s fast-paced real estate market, buyers need to be vigilant about the growing threat of fraudulent real estate listings. Recently, a Kansas City couple discovered their $1 million home falsely listed on Zillow for a mere $10,200. This shocking scenario underscores the increasing sophistication of scammers who prey on unsuspecting homebuyers.

Here’s what happened: The Bertrams had no intention of selling their home when friends alerted them to a suspicious “for sale by owner” listing on Zillow. The scammer initially listed the home at its market value to bypass Zillow’s fraud detectors, then drastically reduced the price to lure in bargain hunters, claiming it they needed the tax break and were being charitable.

The fraudulent listing instructed interested buyers to contact the owner and send $200 via an online banking app to arrange a home viewing. This led to multiple people showing up at the home, eager to tour the house. Despite the owners’ efforts to report the scam and provide proof of ownership, Zillow’s response was sluggish, leaving the couple to deal with the fallout alone.

Such scams are not isolated incidents. Similar fraudulent listings have appeared in multiple states, often targeting high-value properties. Scammers typically steal photos and descriptions from legitimate posts and advertise homes at incredibly low prices to attract victims. Once contacted, they request personal information or upfront payments.

How to Protect Yourself:

  1. Verify Listings: Always confirm the authenticity of a listing before engaging. Look for inconsistencies in the listing price and seller information.
  2. Research the Seller: Use public records to verify the property owner’s identity.
  3. Avoid Wire Transfers: Never send money to people you haven’t met in person or to unverified accounts.
  4. Meet in Person: Only fill out applications and make payments after meeting the property manager or owner.
  5. Know the Market: Be familiar with local rental and property prices to spot suspiciously low offers.
  6. Check Reviews: Look for online reviews and testimonials from previous tenants or buyers.
  7. Be Wary of Red Flags: Be cautious if a seller requests payment via cashier’s check or wants to conduct transactions while out of the country.

According to the FBI, over 9,500 people fell victim to real estate fraud in 2023 alone. Protect yourself by staying informed and vigilant. For more tips on spotting and avoiding scams, visit Zillow’s website or consult the FBI’s guidelines on real estate fraud.

If you are ever in doubt, reach out to North Conway Realty and we'll help you do some research and fact finding!

Add Comment

Comments are moderated. Please be patient if your comment does not appear immediately. Thank you.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


  1. No comments. Be the first to comment.