Property is a brilliant asset to have. Unlike other classes, it doesn’t just build wealth – it puts a shelter over your or your tenant’s head. Investing in bricks and mortar is an incredibly popular choice, whether you’re a first home buyer just starting to figure out how much you can borrow, or a seasoned investor looking for the next big growth hotspot.
However, the sheer popularity of real estate has brought with it unscrupulous individuals hell-bent on illegally parting you with your capital in the most efficient way possible. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reports that in one year, Australians lost $229 million to scams, with dating and romance scams as well as investment schemes accounting for only a few reports, but the majority of losses.
So how can you make sure you don’t fall victim to these professional swindlers?
Knowledge is power in property. Whether it’s knowing whether a piece of real estate is a lemon or realising the person you are dealing with isn’t quite above-board, making sure you are in the know is integral to making sure you aren’t wasting your mortgage repayments on an illusion.
So how can you spot a dodgy investment scheme? They come in many forms, but the majority of scam attempts came via the phone, according to Scamwatch. If you find yourself talking with an “investment expert” who you don’t recognise, with a once in a lifetime, low risk offer, your alarm bells should be ringing.
Are you a target?
Everybody from young Aussies to retirees invest in property, so everybody is a target to scammers. However, Scamwatch tells us that 40 per cent of scam reports come from those who are over 55. Perhaps these criminals consider retirees to be easier targets or just want to access their superannuation capital. In either case, older people do seem to be targeted more, so be extra careful if you are in this age bracket.
However, that isn’t to say that young people aren’t targets too. People who are new to the property market and don’t have the right mortgage advice may be tempted to borrow large amounts of money to invest in a “low risk” property venture. This kind of mistake could cost you dearly, so ensure you work with us, your trusted mortgage experts, to keep yourself safe.