105 N. 6th Street, Wilmington
month’s rent by electronic transfer
or any other means not requiring an
in-person meeting, or if the contact
requests Social Security or bank account
numbers or other sensitive, personal
information, do not proceed without
first verifying the ad is legitimate.
How do you protect yourself in this
day of the increasingly sophisticated
thief? Before making contact, conduct
some basic research to check for legiti-macy.
If local, drive through the neigh-borhood
and look for inconsistencies.
Are the advertised amenities in place?
Confirm other details stated in the ad.
Google the image to see if it matches
the claimed address. “If you can’t get
the address from the ad for a simple
drive-by, that is a major red flag,”
Roman says. Searching free real estate
records online via the New Hanover
County Tax Department and New
Hanover County Register of Deeds will
verify ownership. Both websites are
user-friendly and require no specific
Sellers are not immune to scammers
using similar tactics to dupe individu-als
If you list your property for sale,
and your home’s image is pirated by
a scammer, it may be used to create a
fake rental ad. Would-be renters may
drive by the property, and may even
visit and peek into windows. If one suf-fers
injury while on your property, you
may potentially be liable.
There is no end to the creativity
of the scammer who morphs tactics
to prey upon others. If you are search-ing
for property on the Internet, use
caution and do your homework. If
you are selling property online, water-mark
your images to deter piracy.
Geannine M. Boyette practices
in the areas of Domestic and
Criminal Law, dealing with
issues such as Child Custody
and Support, Spousal Support,
Equitable Distribution, Divorce,
DWI, criminal and traffic violations.
Geannine also devotes a fair share
of her practice to defending
individuals against the
Department of Social Services.