I received phone calls from my neighbor who was panicked over someone claiming to be the owner of her property listing it for sale below the market rate. A realtor came to her door at 9:30 on Saturday night to find out about the house.
She tried to contact Zillow to report the fraud and two days later, it is still up there.
The photos of the interior of the house looked very new, while the outside of the house looks old.
Realtors continue to call her throughout the day, asking about the house. They then tell her it does seem like fraud.
Zillow claims that it verifies ownership before listing a property for Sale by owner. However, it seems very easy, to claim a property, say if it is under the name of something like Jorge Rivera, or a common name. Today, I claimed my house and changed the specifications and it was very easy. It took about two minutes.
Zillow should be held accountable because it has made it easy for to perpetuate a fraud without a lot of work.
We suspect that the way it works is that through the phone number, the fraudster tells buyers about the house and asks for a deposit or cash before allowing them to see the house. By the time they get to the house, the money is gone.
All it would take would be to look at the Google Maps for an exterior view of the house. where you can look in the windows to see if it is not the same interior or the same front door.
Zillow is in trouble. For buying up houses and inflating the market in Florida, making it so regular making it so regular home home buyers cannot afford to buy a house.
So far the several of the neighbors have reported the listing as fraud to Zillow and it has not been taken down.
Redfin and Realtor.com do not show the property for sale. When looking to buy a house it would be a good idea to look a multiple real estate websites to see if it is listed for sale.
The fraudster used two different phone numbers with area codes outside the listing city. He used the textmail app for phone messages. We learned it through calling the number.
There have been reports that fraudsters put up properties for rent on Zillow and then request a ransom to remove the listing.
So far there have been several people who drove by the house an see a hand made sign---"House Not for Sale--Zillow Listing Fraudulent.--NO TRESPASSING!"
Don't let this happen to you--claim your Zillow listing and check on it!