Preventing Fraudulent Real Estate Transactions & Call for 2023 Nominations for the Board of Directors

Preventing Fraudulent Real Estate Transactions

There have been recent media reports about cases in Ontario and British Columbia where individuals are selling or attempting to sell properties they do not own after stealing the identities of the real owners.

In these cases, fraudsters gain access to properties that are vacant while the owners are away for extended periods of times, or by renting the property under a different false identity. Once they have access, they list the property through a real estate agent using stolen or forged documents in the name of the property owner. If successful, they can steal large amounts of money from unsuspecting buyers. 

For more information about this type of fraud:

The Commission reminds licensees to be vigilant about these sophisticated schemes and ensure the people they are working with are who they claim to be and have the legal authority to sell.

How to Help Prevent Fraudulent Transactions 

These are additional steps you can take to help thwart potential fraudsters and protect the public and the industry:

  • Ask to view original or certified true copies of valid and unexpired identification documents such as passports, driver's licence or other government issued identification with a photograph of and confirm that the person meeting with you is the person named in the original document
  • Request additional documents to verify identity, beyond the requirements under FINTRAC, which is a minimum standard.
  • Talk to your client and get to know them.
  • Ask clients conversational questions about themselves such as where they work, how long they have lived in their current place of residence, where they have lived previously, and their marital status. Take notes to record the information. If the information provided changes over time, it may raise a red flag and prompt additional clarification or confirmation.
  • Verify information about a seller on the property title, using Property Online or the Nova Scotia Land Registry. Look for discrepancies in how your client’s name is spelled between POL and ID's.
  • Compare the information on documents (power bills, warranties, utilities, rental documents, etc.) provided by your clients and ensure they are consistent with each other and the information your client provides.
  • Look for other red flags that might call for greater scrutiny like refusals to publicly list or advertise the property, a desire for a quick deal, an empty or abandoned property, unusual email address formats, or a willingness to accept much less than market value

If you suspect identity fraud, notify your broker and the local police. For more information, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Call for 2023 Nominations for the Board of Directors

The Commission is accepting nominations for one licensee to join the Board of Directors. Licensees nominate themselves by completing and submitting the Nomination Form. The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, March 21st, 2023 at 4 p.m. A virtual election will be held in April. The successful candidate will be announced at the AGM on April 21st.

Eligible licensees must be in good standing and meet the qualifications per Commission by-law 207: 

To be eligible to serve as a member of the Commission, a licensee shall:
(a) Hold a valid real estate licence;
(b) Not have been convicted of an offence pursuant to the Act, the Regulations, or the Bylaw resulting in
(i) a disciplinary suspension within the past 10 years; or
(ii) a disciplinary licence restriction; or
(iii) a fine greater than $500 within the past two years; or
(iv) a fine of $500 or less within the past year. 
(c) Not be a director, officer, board member or employee of another real estate organization whose role is to defend the interests of the industry.

The Board of Directors meets five times annually. The successful candidate will fill a three-year term on the Board of Directors and may also serve on other committees.

If you have questions, please email Peggy Kell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Nova Scotia Real Estate
is the regulator of the
Nova Scotia real estate industry.

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Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission

601-1595 Bedford Highway
Bedford, NS
B4A 3Y4

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