Beware of property scams
False identity is a common trick used by fraudsters. They pretend to be property owners conducting property transactions and deceive buyers into placing deposits, or they use fake identification to apply for mortgage loans from financial companies.
What are the tricks?
1. Selling properties
Have you ever wondered if the property owner you are dealing with is indeed a fraudster? By using a false identity card, the fraudster succeeds in cheating the estate agent, law firm and bank, and finally getting a deposit out of the buyer.
Fraudsters may allege that the property has been leased out, and refuse to let buyers view the property. They may also rent the targeted property and arrange for viewing to reassure buyers.
2. Applying for mortgage loans
Fraudsters initially rent the property in order to obtain the identity information of the owner. They use the information to forge the owner’s identity card and property title deed. Properties without taking mortgage loans from banks or with the owner living outside Hong Kong are fraudsters’ targets. Fraudsters then use these fake documents to apply for mortgage loans from the banks or financial companies. After obtaining the loans, the fraudsters disappear and the fraud is revealed when the genuine owner receives the demand letter for loan repayment.
Advice for fraud prevention
- Property Owners: always check the status of your property and beware of suspicious mails or incoming calls regarding your property. If you are in doubt of the tenant’s identity, you should seek verification.
- Buyers: when purchasing a second hand property, ask your estate agent or law firm to verify the identity of the property owner and conduct an on-site inspection.
- Estate agents, law firms, banks and property loan companies: conduct due diligence to check on the actual status of property title as well as the identity of the property owner and the tenant for property transaction as far as possible.
- If you think you have been tricked, report to the Police immediately.
The video footage in this section comes from Fight Scams Together. This is provided by the Hong Kong Police Force to prevent fraud. Go to the website for the latest scam information.