Homes are big investments. Even renting takes a deposit, first month’s rent and you have to move all of your belongings. With dealing with real estate agents, insurance, moving and looking for the property itself, a lot of people can let their guard down.

Real estate scams have been happening in New Mexico all the way back to the days of the Wild West. The key is to learn about the new ones and prepare yourself for the old ones.

Re-finance scam—if you own your home, you have probably received countless directly mail pieces in your mailbox. They have different promises, but if you are going to do anything make sure it is with a reputable company.

Loan modification scammers appear like the real thing. They promise a new low rate. Everything looks good until they ask you for “processing fees,” which could be tens of thousands of dollars. Don’t ever pay fees that are outside of the scope of work.

Rental scam—most renters shop for a new apartment online. The only problem with that is, the listing they could be viewing may be fake. The unit might be real, but someone copied the listing and is trying to sell it for themselves. Or the unit could be in another state. Even if you show up, the con person will tell you it’s getting painted so you can’t go in.

Make sure you know who owns the unit and don’t put any money down until you have walked through the apartment.