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A Kansas City couple has their million-dollar ranch listed on Zillow for just $10,200 to «first-time buyers only» scammers as hordes of prospective homeowners knock on their door.


A couple is fending off house hunters flocking to their door after seeing their $1.6 million home for sale for $10,200.

But Jamey and Lauren Bertram never put their five-bedroom, 5,300-square-foot Kansas City home, which they bought for about $1 million in 2019, on the market.

Instead, it was a blatant scam on real estate site Zillow that took them most of a week to correct while people knocked on doors to take a look.

The scammer explained the insanely low place by making it sound like the owner was rich enough to afford or practically give it away to charity.

“I am selling my house because my family and I own many houses all over the US,” the scammer wrote.

“Once a year we sell one or more of our homes to first-time buyers for less than $25,000. This is done to bless a family or individual in need, but also as a tax write-off for us.”

Couple fends off house hunters flocking to their door after seeing their $1.6 million home for sale for $10,200 in Zillow scam

The home was only available to first-time buyers, it said, and strictly no real estate agents, lenders, investors, wholesalers or lawyers were required to inquire.

The exclusion of this list of savvy property buyers was likely because it was necessary for the scam to work.

Buyers were told to call ‘Mandi’ and were then told to send $200 to the owner’s mother via an online banking app – which would of course be returned to them.

Jamey Bertram, senior vice president of architecture and engineering firm Burns & McDonnell, said the couple had no idea until Wednesday, when friends asked if they were moving.

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«We’ve spent the last three days trying to free this person who took my house online,» he told the Kansas City Star.

“I had no help from Zillow. They stopped responding… It’s a hot mess.

“I’m kind of stuck here. People want to see the house. It’s just a complete scam.”

The house was finally taken from Zillow over the weekend.

Zillow has detailed guides on how to spot and avoid scams on their platform and when browsing the real estate market in general.

The bogus listing for the Bertram home used several classic strategies that are red flags for buyers or renters taking action.

“Most scams involve a request to transfer funds. Don’t send funds to anyone you don’t know personally. Fraudsters create compelling reasons to act remotely,” Zillow paused.

Jamey Bertram, senior vice president of architecture and engineering firm Burns & McDonnell, said the couple had no idea until Wednesday, when friends asked if they were moving.
Lauren Bertram and her husband fend off house hunters knocking on their door

Jamey and Lauren Bertram never put their five-bedroom, 5,300-square-foot Kansas City home on the market — and didn’t know until friends asked if they were moving.

Househunters were also warned not to send deposits and be wary of sellers or landlords asking for unorthodox practices because they were overseas.

Other common red flags were typos in listings and the use of sob stories to explain strange details or requirements.

“Emails full of spelling and grammar errors are usually a sign of fraud. The British spelling of ‘favor’ instead of ‘favor’ is also a sign of rental fraud,” he said.

«Reports containing stories of family or financial problems or agents charging too high a premium are usually scams.»

But the biggest sign in this case was that the low price was simply too expensive to be true.

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“Do you think the rent for the neighborhood or property shown in the listing is too low? To rush renters, scammers advertise listings that look like amazing opportunities,” Zillow warned.

«They will emphasize the urgency and that the deal will be done quickly.» (That last bit is its own little red flag; the amazing deals speak for themselves and don’t need fancy language.)’

Zillow recommended always visiting the property in person, verifying that the listing is legitimate, verifying the identity of the selling or rental agent, and only exchanging money using well-known and trusted methods.



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