Waco PD raising awareness of social media home sale scam

Local News

WACO, Texas – The Waco Police Department says detectives have received multiple cases over the last few months where houses are being illegally sold on Facebook.

The department said on Facebook Wednesday these cases happen when a house will get posted in Facebook Sell Groups as real-estate investment properties for a low price. The problem is in the individuals that are posting these homes for sale don’t actually own them or have rights to them.

“Basically what they will do is drive by a vacant house or an abandoned house in the Waco area. They’ll take a picture of the outside of it, and then they’ll post it online for sale,” says Officer Garen Bynum, with the Waco Police Department.

After they are contacted about purchasing the homes, they will remove the home from the site and will then attempt to take a cash down payment on the home they don’t actually own. They have historically now told the person contacting them to drive by and look at the house, but will be “unavailable” to show their property. Nearly all of the contact for the suspects has been through Facebook Messenger.

“They will tell you to drive by the house. They will say they are unavailable to meet up at the house. If you are interested in purchasing the home, whether it be to actually live in or for investment properties, whatever the case may be, they will then attempt to arrange a time to set up and meet with you,” says Bynum.

During the investigation of one of these cases, detectives found out the suspect was actually allowed to follow the victim back to their residence to retrieve cash for their down payment.

“Verify that house is actually for sale. Verify that this person is who he says he is. You can do those by contacting local title companies. In most cases you can go onto the McLennan County appraisal district website and look up who owns the house,” says Bynum.

Detectives say when you are purchasing a house for sale, either to live in or for investment purposes, that you verify the legitimacy of the sale and the owner of the property first. They are working diligently to stop this from happening, but ask that if you come across any more cases like these to let the department know.

Source: Waco Police Department

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