Knowledge is Power! Learn to Protect yourself this Fraud Prevention Month with the Real Estate Council of Alberta
Calgary, Alberta –March is Fraud Prevention Month, and the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) wants to remind Albertans that knowledge is power when it comes to fraud prevention and awareness.
As the licensing and regulatory body for Alberta’s 15,000 real estate, mortgage brokerage and real estate appraisal professionals, RECA’s mandate includes protecting against, investigating, detecting, and suppressing mortgage fraud. RECA has extensive information and resources for consumers that can help them avoid being taken in by a real estate or mortgage-related scam.
“Fraudsters continually reinvent themselves and their schemes; consumers need to remain vigilant,” says Brian Klingspon, RECA Chair. “The fraudsters we see are opportunistic; they’re looking for uninformed victims. RECA has extensive information and tips for consumers that can help them avoid becoming a target.”
There are many simple steps consumers can take to protect themselves:
- never carry out a real estate-or mortgage-related transaction completely online; always make sure you view the property and meet face-to-face with the other parties
- having financial difficulty related to your mortgage? Someone offering you “an easy way out”? Find out if the person offering to help you is a licensed real estate or mortgage brokerage professional. “Search for an industry professional” at www.reca.ca
- read contracts and other documents carefully. Make sure you understand what you’re signing; if you don’t, ask questions. If you don’t like the answers – look for help or information elsewhere
- do a web search for the names of the individuals offering to help you out. If the person you’re dealing with has a history of fraud, their old victims have likely warned the world online
Klingspon adds, “RECA is committed to enhancing consumer protection in all aspects of real estate and mortgage transactions. Providing Albertans with credible, independent information about mortgage fraud prevention and awareness is one way we can do that.”
Do your research, ask questions, and most of all, make sure you’re working with a licensed mortgage or real estate professional. Their extensive knowledge, experience, and training can help you avoid scams.
Mortgage fraud awareness and prevention resources for consumers are available now on RECA’s website. RECA will participate in Fraud Prevention Month activities throughout March.
The Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) is an independent, non-government agency, responsible for governing real estate, mortgage broker, property management, and real estate appraisal industry professionals under Alberta’s Real Estate Act. RECA’s mandate is to protect consumers and to provide services that enhance and improve the industry and the business of industry professionals.