Earlier in January a pair of homeowner’s returned to Canada to find that their family home had sold in 2022 without their knowledge after a man and a woman used fake identification to pose as the homeowners and then hired a realtor who listed the house for sale. New unknowing homeowner’s took possession and it is deemed as complex mortgage fraud.
The public are learning that this has happened again. A Toronto resident’s great uncle moved into a long-term care home in 2021, and his family decided to rent out the property to help pay for expenses. Two local Realtor’s helped them find and screen tenants, which later all parties found the tenants had used fraudulent documents and fake references on the lease application.
Weeks after the formal lease agreement was signed by the real homeowner and the fake tenants, the family found out that someone had been posing as the 95-year old great uncle and hired two other local realtors to list the house for sale. Luckily this family was able to put a stop to the scam before the house could be fraudulently sold and transferred to the new homeowner’s names.
Realtor’s need to be hyper aware of fraudulent identification and documents. Ontario has a free driver’s licence check tool to help make sure licences are valid and we recommend all Realtor’s should use them. It is also important to call or video chat references and potential tenants.
A Toronto Realtor mentions that the provincial rules should change and Real Estate agents should have to verify tenants and homeowner’s with two pieces of ID, as scammers currently only have to forged one piece of ID. Also, with lease transactions Realtor’s do not have to fill out a FINTRAC (Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada) form, only for sale and purchase transactions which leaves fraud to go unchecked.
It is important for homeowner’s to hire reputable and seasoned Realtor’s who have years of experience dealing with other agents and a variety of transactions as the alarms may have gone off sooner and the family wouldn’t have had to experience all this fraudulent activity.
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