Abraham Lincoln

Just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t make it true. Meme courtesy of memegenerator.net/.  

Have you heard the latest?

Acclaimed director Steven Spielberg not only found an extinct triceratops, he shot and killed it.

Or how about this one?

The missing pet tarantula in New York.

Perhaps of you heard this one?

Comedian George Carlin writing “The Paradox of Our Time.”

If you believe either of those, you’re why this piece is here.

Stop.

Believing.

Everything.

You.

Read.

On.

The.

Internet.

What does this have to do with real estate? It all ties together.

Say, for example, there’s a great deal you see on the Internet for a property.

You see how much you could make for very little from you.

“How has one else seen this?” You ask yourself.

“This is my lucky day. Thank God for the Internet.”

So you go forward without looking more into it.

Without researching it further. Take it on its face value.

Real Estate money

All you can see is $ signs.

A few weeks go by and you come to find out you got hosed.

Then there are three other types of real estate scams that are the most popular.

Workshop scams, loan modification scams and rental scams.

Online, it’s the rental scams that get people.

Most people search for their new home online, 90 percent in some estimations. That leaves a lot of people to prey on if you’re a scammer.

What they do is take the legitimate listings, put them on a different website like Craig’s List and post them as their own.

To get money, the scammers ask for a security deposit or to wire the money to a friend, who works with the scammer.

The best way to avoid to this is not make any decisions after you look at Craig’s List. If you see it on that site, look for more reputable site to make sure it’s legit.

Other red flags for real estate scams:

  • Request to wire funds
  • Long-distance landlords
  • Requests for verification codes
  • Requests for personal or financial information
  • Claiming an affiliation with credible sites like Zillow. “Zillow only acts as a source of information and is not involved in any transactions,” as it says on its site.

There used to be a practice in journalism that went like this: If your mother tells you she loves you, double check.

In this time of social media and catfishing, most journalists don’t practice that most important of journalistic traits. They either don’t care or want to get it out first.

The same is true of “click baiters,” those who believe everything they click on and read.

Then they get riled up or feel vindicated when they do.

“It’s on the Internet, it has to be true.”

Or they get really upset when they fall for one of these scams.

There was a time people believed everything they saw on TV too.

Thus the saying, “Just because it’s on TV, doesn’t make it true.”

Life always comes full circle.

That’s now happening again with the Internet.

The question is: Are people this gullible, stupid, lazy or all the above?

To keep this simple, it’s the latter.

People no longer feel the need to remain informed.

They refuse to be challenged on anything they believe.

All they want is affirmation of what they think, believe and feel. If you disagree with them, people protest, call names or worse.

It’s as if an informed society is now a punchline in a bad joke.

We have this information and news available in so many different avenues; it’s amazing what we pick to keep us informed.

We don’t read newspapers.

But we read blogs with obvious agendas (see: a few lines above).

We get informed by the uninformed.

And we wonder why we fall for invisible significant others.

Or think a dinosaur extinct for 75 million years was shot by a movie director.

Or a rich man with a note will give you money if you share it.

When you believe this, you become an easy target.

The more people believe it and click, the more others think they have a gold mine and have to get involved too.

The circle then gets bigger and bigger to the point we are now.

What can you do?

Stay informed by using the mediums best suited to do so. Newspapers are the main way. And for those who say, “Yeah, but …” If you fall for what you see and click on the Internet, you have no room to speak.

Have a little common sense.

When it comes to directors hunting dinosaurs, remember “Jurassic Park.”

Sorry, it’s just amazing we have to tell people to use common sense on something that has been extinct for over 75 million years.

Most of all, challenge yourself.

Challenge your beliefs.

Challenge what you’re certain is fact with, you know, facts.

Not only will we benefit as a society, so will you.

As President Abraham Lincoln said, “Better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

Have you heard the latest?

If you share a photo of Bill Gates on Facebook he will give you $5,000.

Bill Gates Facebook

This was one of the most recent Internet hoaxes. Remember: Just because it’s on the web doesn’t make it true. Photo courtesy of webpronews.com.