Internet house hunting

Internet house hunting

Real estate websites have changed how people look for, buy homes
Watch out for scams when shopping for home online

Vigilance really is an important virtue when looking for a home online.
Though your dream home may fall within a small percentage of online homes, the Internet also can be a cesspool for scams, more specifically nonreputable websites.
Burke Baldwin, a detective with the Durango Police Department, said the best way to avoid being scammed trying to buy or rent a home online is to be vigilant.
“If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” Baldwin said.
He said many scams involving Durango properties have been reported by Craigslist users, although most of the problems involve rental homes. Most people looking for homes online tend to use a real estate broker when it comes time to buy a house, he said.
Baldwin said there are red flags people should look for when looking for rentals and homes online:
When the seller says he or she is out of the country for business and is requesting a payment without showing the property or meeting face-to face.
When the seller requests an untraceable form of payment such as wiring money through Western Union or using Green Dot.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, Baldwin said you can contact the police department.
You also can right-click on an image on Craigslist to backtrack the original source of any photograph.
The FBI also has a website where citizens can file complaints if they suspect or are aware of an Internet crime. The website, www.IC3.gov, also offers tips, advice and frequently asked questions.
vguthrie@durangoherald.com

Internet house hunting

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