Lagos State in Nigeria stands as a vibrant hub characterized by a thriving real estate industry. As individuals seek opportunities to invest in properties or find their ideal homes, they often turn to property and estate companies for guidance and support.

While numerous of these entities boast a commendable reputation and offer reliable services, a fraction engage in deceptive practices. To ensure your financial security and awareness, we aim to highlight the seven biggest real estate frauds perpetrated by real estate and property businesses in Lagos State through this post.

Biggest Real Estate Frauds Definition

Real estate, a lucrative industry, often entices individuals with promises of investment opportunities or dream properties. However, amidst the legitimate businesses lie fraudulent practices that can significantly impact unsuspecting buyers, sellers, and renters.

Biggest Real Estate Frauds by Estate Agents

The term “Biggest Real Estate Frauds” encompasses significant and often high-profile deceptive schemes within the real estate sector. These fraudulent activities lead to financial losses, misrepresentation of property values, and exploitation of stakeholders.

Recognizing and understanding these fraudulent practices is crucial in protecting oneself in real estate dealings. This guide aims to shed light on some of the most prevalent and damaging real estate frauds, equipping individuals with knowledge to safeguard against these deceitful maneuvers.

Phantom Sale Fraud

Phantom sale fraud is a common and disturbing real estate fraud in Lagos State, that revolves around property companies promoting imaginary or non-existent properties. Scammers craft alluring property listings, complete with appealing photographs, detailed descriptions, and seemingly competitive prices to entice potential buyers or renters.

Individuals, lured by the attractive offerings, often fall prey to this scheme by paying upfront fees or deposits, assuming they’re securing a genuine property deal. However, upon investigation or attempted occupation, they realize the property they’ve invested in doesn’t exist in reality.

To safeguard oneself from such deceptive practices, it’s essential to take preventive measures. Always conduct thorough verification of property details before any financial commitment.

Furthermore, it’s strongly advised to physically visit the property site to confirm its existence and legitimacy before making any payments or agreements. These precautions can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to these fraudulent activities.

Double Booking

Double Booking stands as a prevalent real estate fraud where unscrupulous estate agents engage in showing the same property to multiple prospective clients, ultimately accepting payments from several parties for the same property.

This deceitful practice often leads to conflicts and financial losses for the individuals involved, as multiple buyers or renters are under the impression that they’ve secured the property with their payment, only to discover the double-dealing.

To guard against falling victim to this fraudulent maneuver, it’s crucial to take certain precautionary measures. Insisting on documented proof in the form of written agreements and receipts for all transactions is essential.

These documents should explicitly outline and clarify the terms and conditions of the property deal, ensuring transparency and legal recourse in case of any discrepancies or disputes. This simple yet vital step can help protect individuals from the pitfalls of double booking and its subsequent financial and legal ramifications.

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Counterfeit Title Documents

Counterfeit Title Documents represent a fraudulent tactic employed by property scammers, who deceitfully present forged or fabricated documents as legitimate proof of property ownership or rights. These fake documents are meticulously crafted to deceive, often appearing convincing at first glance, yet they lack any legal validity or authenticity.

To shield yourself from the risks associated with such deceptive practices, it’s imperative to adopt preventive measures. Verification of the authenticity of title documents is paramount. Seeking confirmation from the relevant government agencies, land registries, or property authorities is a crucial step in ensuring the legitimacy of the documents associated with the property in question.

Moreover, consulting legal experts or professionals well-versed in property law may be necessary to validate and authenticate these documents. Relying on legal expertise provides an added layer of security against falling victim to fake title document scams and the subsequent legal entanglements that may arise.

Concealed Fees and Charges

Concealed Fees and Charges serve as a deceptive tactic employed by certain property companies, enticing potential clients with seemingly affordable initial prices but subsequently burdening them with undisclosed or hidden fees during later stages of the transaction.

This fraudulent scheme often leads to financial strain and unexpected expenses for buyers or renters who were initially drawn in by the attractive low prices. The added costs, disguised within the contractual agreements, emerge later, catching clients off guard and creating a situation of financial disadvantage.

To shield oneself from the risks associated with such misleading practices, a vigilant approach is essential. Thoroughly scrutinizing all contracts and associated documents is imperative. It’s advised to go through the terms and conditions meticulously, ensuring a clear understanding of the intricacies and costs related to the property purchase or rental.

Seeking legal counsel from a proficient lawyer well-versed in real estate transactions can offer further protection. Their expertise can help in identifying any hidden clauses, ensuring complete comprehension of the financial commitments involved in the deal, and ultimately avoiding any unwelcome surprises in the form of concealed fees or charges.

Unregistered Companies

Unregistered Companies represent a prevalent form of real estate fraud in Lagos, where property and estate companies operate without the necessary registration or authorization. These unregistered entities often engage in transactions, accepting payments from clients, and subsequently vanish, leaving individuals without any legal recourse or means of recompense.

This fraudulent practice poses a significant risk to clients, as the absence of registration renders these companies untraceable and unaccountable for their actions. Victims are left grappling with the loss of funds and lacking proper channels to address their grievances or seek restitution.

To safeguard against falling prey to such unscrupulous operations, it is crucial to take proactive measures. Verifying the registration status of a property or estate company with the relevant regulatory authorities is paramount.

Seeking recommendations and feedback from reliable sources, such as previous clients, industry experts, or reputable associations, can offer valuable insights into the credibility and reliability of the company. By engaging with registered and reputable entities, individuals can substantially mitigate the risks associated with unregistered companies and ensure a more secure and trustworthy real estate transaction.


The bait-and-switch tactic in real estate fraud involves deceptive practices by property or real estate companies. These companies promote a specific property, highlighting its appealing features and attractive qualities to lure potential clients.

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However, when clients visit the site or commit to payments, they are redirected to a different, often less appealing property than the one initially advertised. This misleading maneuver commonly results in disappointment and financial loss for individuals who expected to acquire the originally showcased property.

The disparity between the promised features and the actual property can lead to a significant discrepancy, causing clients to feel cheated and financially disadvantaged.

To shield oneself from falling victim to this deceitful strategy, it is essential to take precautionary measures. Insisting on viewing the exact property you intend to purchase or rent is crucial. Additionally, documenting all assurances and promises made by the company in writing is highly advisable.

This documentation not only serves as evidence of the initial representations but also helps in maintaining clarity and transparency throughout the real estate transaction, reducing the likelihood of being deceived by a bait-and-switch scheme.

Inflated Property Valuations

Inflated Property Valuations represent a deceptive practice by certain unethical property companies aiming to attract buyers or investors by overstating the value of a property. These companies may use inflated appraisals or comparative market analyses that inaccurately portray the property’s true worth.

This misrepresentation can lead potential buyers or investors to overestimate the property’s value, potentially resulting in them paying more than the property’s actual market worth. Consequently, they may end up incurring financial losses due to the exaggerated valuation provided by these deceitful entities.

To protect oneself from falling victim to such fraudulent tactics, it’s crucial to take precautionary measures. Conducting an independent valuation or seeking the opinion of a certified appraiser is highly recommended.

This independent assessment helps in ascertaining the accurate value of the property, ensuring that any investment or purchase is based on reliable and truthful information rather than false or exaggerated data. This step helps in making informed decisions and guards against the risk of overpaying for a property due to inflated valuations provided by unscrupulous property companies.

In Conclusion

Lagos State in Nigeria thrives as a bustling center for real estate activities, drawing individuals seeking investment opportunities or their dream homes, often turning to property and estate companies for assistance.

While many of these entities maintain a reputable standing and offer reliable services, a fraction engage in deceptive practices. To raise awareness and ensure financial security, this compilation highlights seven significant real estate frauds often perpetrated by property businesses in Lagos State.

The term “Biggest Real Estate Frauds” encompasses deceitful practices in the industry, resulting in substantial financial losses, property value manipulations, misrepresentations, and fraudulent transactions. These encompass a range of schemes, including mortgage fraud, property flipping scams, investment scams, identity theft, and other deceptive strategies.

  • Phantom Properties involve the promotion of non-existent properties, enticing clients with attractive listings but leading to disappointment and financial losses. To protect against such fraud, thorough property verification and on-site visits are essential.
  • Double Booking occurs when multiple clients are shown the same property, resulting in conflicts and financial losses. Insisting on written agreements and receipts for all transactions can safeguard against this.
  • Counterfeit Title Documents are presented as authentic but lack legal validity. Verifying these documents with government agencies and seeking legal expertise is crucial to avoid falling victim.
  • Concealed Fees and Charges, concealed within contracts, lead to unexpected financial strain. Scrutinizing contracts and seeking legal advice aids in understanding and avoiding such hidden costs.
  • Unregistered Companies pose a risk as they vanish after receiving payments. Verifying a company’s registration status and seeking recommendations can protect against such scams.
  • Bait-and-switch involves advertising one property but showing a different, less appealing one. Verifying the exact property and documenting promises can prevent falling victim to this tactic.
  • Inflated Property Valuations manipulate property worth, potentially leading to financial losses for buyers or investors. Seeking independent valuations helps in making informed decisions and avoiding overpayment based on false information.
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Collectively, implementing these cautionary measures and being well-informed acts as a shield, safeguarding individuals from the potential risks associated with various real estate frauds prevalent in Lagos State.

By diligently verifying property details, insisting on documented agreements, seeking legal counsel, and conducting independent assessments, individuals can significantly fortify their defenses against falling victim to deceptive real estate practices.

This accumulated knowledge serves as a powerful tool, empowering individuals to navigate the real estate landscape more securely and make informed decisions while sidestepping potential financial pitfalls and fraudulent schemes.


What are Real Estate Frauds?

Real Estate Frauds encompass deceptive practices within the real estate industry, involving misleading or dishonest activities such as property scams, fake listings, misrepresented property values, and more.

How do you not get Scammed in Real Estate?

Safeguard your personal information: Refrain from sharing your personal or financial details with individuals you don’t trust. Avoid disclosing financial information via emails or website links. Steer clear of upfront fees: Don’t make any advance payments for services, particularly when someone is pressuring you, especially for services being offered for your home.

What are the common types of Real Estate Fraud?

Common types of Real Estate Fraud include Phantom Properties (non-existent properties), Double Booking (multiple clients paying for the same property), Fake Title Documents, Inflated Property Valuations, and Bait-and-Switch tactics, among others.

How can I avoid falling victim to Real Estate Fraud?

To avoid such fraudulent activities, ensure thorough verification of property details before any financial commitments. Insist on documented proof, such as written agreements and receipts. Additionally, seek expert advice, conduct independent valuations, and verify company registrations.

How do you know if a Seller is Real?

Authentic third-party reviews from past customers should be available if the online company is genuine and has a history of existence. Review platforms like Google My Business, Amazon, and Yelp often feature such reviews if the company is legitimate and has been established for some time.

What are the legal implications of Real Estate Fraud?

Real Estate Fraud can lead to legal repercussions for the perpetrators, including civil liabilities, fines, and in severe cases, criminal charges. Victims of such frauds can seek legal remedies and compensation for financial losses through legal channels.

What steps can I take if I suspect I’ve been a victim of Real Estate fraud?

If you suspect you’ve fallen victim to Real Estate fraud, gather all relevant documentation, report the incident to the appropriate authorities, seek legal advice, and consider filing a complaint with consumer protection agencies or real estate regulatory bodies.

Where can I report Real Estate Fraud?

You can report suspected Real Estate Fraud to relevant authorities such as consumer protection agencies, real estate regulatory bodies, or local law enforcement. Additionally, you can file a complaint with platforms used for property listings if you encounter fraudulent listings online.


Dennis Isong is a top realtor in Lagos with several awards. If you are looking for a trustworthy realtor in Lagos, Nigeria, especially if you are a Nigerian in the Diaspora hoping to own property in Lagos, Nigeria, stress-free, then talk to Dennis Isong. For questions, WhatsApp or call 2348164741041.
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