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Texas Department of Insurance
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March 27, 2024

Buying a house? Beware of seller impersonation fraud.


One of the fastest-growing real estate scams targets vacant or unoccupied houses for sale.

It starts with someone forging documents to sell a house they don’t own. They list a house below market value and accept a quick offer – with a preference towards cash buyers – to steal the money from the sale.

Put your guard up if a seller:

  • Tells your agent they only want a cash buyer.
  • Doesn’t show up for closing or asks to sign documents electronically.
  • Asks for a remote notary at signing and wants to use their own notary.
  • Asks that the money from the sale go directly to them.

Some tips:

  • Visit the house you want in person. Only the real homeowner can give your agent the key.
  • Ask your agent to use a trusted in-person notary at closing.
  • Buy title insurance. Your real estate agent will likely recommend it and your mortgage company will probably require it. Title insurance protects you from problems with an ownership title.

Report fraud to the Texas Attorney General, the Federal Trade Commission, and your local police.

Learn more