The New York State Police in Oneonta have uncovered a new, sophisticated scam and are urging the public to stay vigilant and informed with a few simple steps.

An unidentified suspect recently stole the identity of a property owner in Otsego County. Using a forged New Jersey Driver’s License, the suspect attempted to sell the property through a local realtor.

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Fortunately, the scam hit a snag because the deed listed additional owners, which raised red flags and stalled the sale. The alert realtor grew suspicious and discovered that the actual owner was unaware of the attempted sale. Thanks to the realtor’s diligence, the sale was stopped, and no money was lost.

If you believe you may be a victim or know someone who might be involved in this scam, please contact your nearest law enforcement agency. This could be part of a larger fraudulent scheme.

Avoiding property scams requires vigilance and caution. Follow these key tips:

  1. Verify Identities: Confirm the identities of all parties involved in a property transaction. Request multiple forms of identification and cross-check details.
  2. Authenticate Documents: Verify the authenticity of documents such as deeds and titles with the relevant authorities to ensure they are legitimate.
  3. Consult Professionals: Engage reputable realtors and legal professionals who can identify red flags and provide expert guidance.
  4. Secure Personal Information: Protect your personal and financial information to prevent identity theft.
  5. Research Thoroughly: Investigate the property's history and the seller’s background before proceeding with any transaction.

If something feels off, trust your instincts and seek further verification.

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