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Local real estate associations are sounding the alarm on a new scam hitting the market: fraudulent listings of real lots and homes that aren’t actually for sale.

Why it matters: This latest scam targets real estate agents and has resulted in legitimate listings hitting the public market before the legal property owner is even aware the fraud has taken place.

  • At least one local listing actually sold, and the transaction closed before the property owner learned about it, Peggy Lynch, Richmond Association of Realtors vice president of compliance, tells Axios.

What’s happening: Unidentified scammers are contacting Richmond real estate agents posing as owners wanting to list their property for sale, usually a vacant lot or home, RAR tells Axios.

  • The scammers are sophisticated and use public records to find the owner’s legal name, mailing address and other details so their query looks legitimate, according to the Richmond Association of Realtors.
  • They even create fake IDs identifying themselves as the property owner.