Dorota Dyman & Associates Real Estate Fake Real Estate Ads Prey on Buyer Desire for Home Dealby Rodger Heidema Dorota Dyman & Associates
An Ottawa woman says she was shocked to learn the condo she was selling online was also being offered on another website at a deeply discounted price, part of a complicated scam targeting unsuspecting home buyers.
Julie Gutteridge is selling her upscale downtown Ottawa condo for about $260,000, and placed ads with real estate website Grapevine and online classified advertiser Kijiji.
She then noticed a nearly identical ad — with the same digital photos she had used on her advertisement — on another real estate website.
The one difference: the price. The clone ad listed the condo for $108,000.
"I was shocked... because I first heard of it, then I got an email from just a person that had noticed the two listings," said Gutteridge.
"They actually used the same description that was on Grapevine. Not only the pictures of my unit, but the same description, address, everything but the unit number ... and of course the contact information," she said.
Police investigators have seen a number of fraudulent websites targeting potential home renters, particularly people coming from far-away cities. But for someone to attempt to sell a home that he or she doesn't own is rare and particularly involved.
"They are duplicating the ad, but drastically reducing the asking price, and that's what seems to jump out at legitimate home buyers. They see, 'Wow, look at the price of that home and it looks good,'" said Noonan.
The key to the confidence game is a reliance on both the desire of a homebuyer to get a good deal, and pressure from the supposed seller to close the deal quickly, says Noonan.
CBC Ottawa's Simon Gardner learned this first-hand when he called the number on a duplicate advertisement for a different home — in Orleans, and listed in a duplicate ad for $129,000, or less than half the actual price.
Gardner identified himself as "Andrew Gardner" and created a plausible back story after CBC News determined a journalist would be unable to understand how the seller's operation worked if he called and represented himself as such.
The man who picked up the phone identified himself as Paul — a name CBC News assumed was fake — and said he couldn't meet Gardner in person because he was in Toronto with clients.
He claimed he was selling the home at a discounted price because he was under financial stress and needed money fast, but offered assurances that the home had not been a grow-op.
"Actually we do need some money urgently and there is no lien on the house, the house is paid for and it's going really quick. I have a couple of other interested buyers," Paul said.
He said in order to close the deal; Gardner would have to deposit $12,000 in a bank account. The man then said his lawyer would contact Gardner with details about the transaction. The man also provided a link to the website of a Toronto law firm specializing in real estate.
Created on Dec 31st 1969 19:00. Viewed 0 times.