Real estate author Ralph Roberts has launched a Web site, FlippingFrenzy.com, to provide information about real estate fraud, according to an announcement today. The site features mortgage fraud alerts, news and links, as well as contact information to report suspected fraud.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the start of this century will be remembered as the decade of real estate scandals,” Roberts said in a statement. “Every law enforcement agency, every district attorney and sheriff’s department I talk to is astounded at the sheer number of people being scammed, ripped off and financially destroyed through these scams. If we do not educate consumers and all professionals to protect themselves, there will be no end in sight.”

Roberts is the owner of Ralph Roberts Realty LLC in Warren, Mich., and author of “Walk Like a Giant, Sell Like a Madman,” “Real Wealth By Investing in Real Estate” and “52 Weeks of Sales Success.”

The announcement states, “From handmade signs stuck on the side of local roads and on telephone poles to eBay listings seeking investors, late night infomercials and newspaper ads promising big cash at closings, real estate fraud and mortgage fraud have become part of America’s landscape. The threat to families, communities and a national economy closely allied with real estate values cannot be underestimated.”

Roberts offers some tips to homeowners who want to avoid real estate fraud:

  • A certain percentage of real estate fraud transactions could be completely eliminated by educated consumers refusing to sign blank documents or take part in questionable sales or purchases.

  • The promise of fast cash to pay credit card bills is tempting – but it’s not how you want to remember the holiday season.

  • Take a good look at the HUD-1 form – if there’s a discrepancy in numbers, you may be headed into serious trouble.

  • Any time someone advises you “don’t worry, this is fine,” it’s time to start worrying. Real estate transactions are complex, but they should be straightforward.

  • When anyone advises you to deposit money slowly into the bank, a huge light bulb should go off – pay attention. Large legal deposits do not require a slow deposit stream.

  • Never sign any documents that are blank, never sign anything that you do not understand and make sure that your own independent advisor explains everything to you. That includes federal forms that have been retyped or where the print is almost too small to read.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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