WASHINGTON – Aug. 2, 2012 – Real-estate-related issues, ranging from property fraud to timeshare sales, took the ninth slot on a Top 10 compilation of consumer complaints put together by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators.
One of the biggest gripes has to do with con artists masquerading as landlords of foreclosed property. These criminals take down foreclosure signs, break into a home, and then list it for rent on the Web. Unsuspecting victims pay a first-month deposit and monthly rent before the bank realizes it’s happened.
“It’s happening to people who have been evicted and already are in a bad situation,” says Carlos Morales of the Orange County (Fla.) Consumer Fraud Unit. “And now that situation goes from bad to worse.”
The CFA’s Susan Grant says that real estate schemes tied to timeshares continue to be a problem as well, primarily due to aggressive sales tactics.
“When they think about it, (consumers realize) they can’t afford (a timeshare) but don’t always have the (state protections) to cancel,” she explains. “Along comes timeshare resale cons that offer to help people unload these timeshares that they can’t and don’t want.” Instead, they take upfront fees without delivering a buyer.
Source: MarketWatch (08/01/12) Waters, Jennifer
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