Living in Vermont, the idyllic landscape might make you feel sheltered from scams and fraud, but the reality is that real estate scams know no borders. They can be bold, far-reaching, and affect anyone, regardless of age or tech-savviness. In this article, we'll delve into three prevalent real estate scams and equip you with essential tips to protect yourself.

Wire Fraud Scams: Protecting Your Transactions

One of the most significant threats to real estate transactions is wire fraud scams. Cybercriminals impersonate key players like realtors, mortgage lenders, or attorneys, sending fake wiring instructions via email just days before the scheduled closing. To avoid falling victim to wire fraud, follow these guidelines: 

  • NEVER trust wiring instructions received via email.
  • If you receive an email with wire transfer instructions, do not respond. Instead, verify them in person or via phone, using a trusted and verified phone number.
  • Act immediately if you suspect wire fraud. Contact the Vermont FBI district office at 802-951-6725 or file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at


At Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman, we prioritize our clients' security by implementing best practices, employing strong passwords, multifactor authentication, and automated notification systems to warn clients of potential wire fraud.


Fake Listings and Rental Scams: Spotting the Red Flags

Scammers target eager renters with enticing offers that seem too good to be true. If you're pressured to act quickly or asked to wire money for a property sight unseen, it's time to be cautious. Follow these steps to protect yourself:

  • Inspect the property in person, and be wary if the landlord refuses or provides excuses.
  • Use legitimate platforms like Airbnb for secure payment options, avoiding direct fund transfers.


Deed Scams: Safeguarding Your Property Ownership

Fraudsters attempt to transfer your property without your knowledge through deed scams. Be cautious if pressured to sign documents hastily or if you receive unsolicited requests to update property records. Protect yourself by:


  • Consulting with a legal professional before signing any property-related documents.
  • Regularly checking your property records online for unauthorized changes.


Best Practices for Overall Cybersecurity

To protect yourself not only during real estate transactions but also from cybercriminals in general, follow these best practices:


  • Use strong, unique passwords for email and accounts storing sensitive information.
  • Enable multifactor authentication on all applicable services.
  • Avoid sharing transaction information on social media.
  • Never send sensitive information or documents via email.


While Vermont offers tranquility, scams know no boundaries. Stay vigilant, trust your instincts, and verify before making significant real estate decisions. By staying informed and cautious, you can build a secure foundation for your real estate journey, wherever it may take you.