United States

Kansas City Couple Shocked To Find Their Million-Dollar Home Listed For $10,200 On Zillow

A Kansas City couple, Jamey and Lauren Bertram, were shocked to find their million-dollar home listed for $10,200 on Zillow without their knowledge.

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A Kansas City couple, Jamey and Lauren Bertram, were shocked to find their million-dollar home listed for sale on Zillow for just $10,200. The Bertrams had no plans to move from their five-bedroom ranch home when friends alerted them to the fake listing on the real estate website.

“Our house has been hacked on Zillow,” Jamey Bertram told the Kansas City Star. He said he had spent "the last three days trying to unwind this person that has taken over my house online. I've had zero help from Zillow," he added, calling the situation "a hot mess."

At first, the scammer listed the home for its real value, about $1.2 million. This helped the fake listing get past Zillow’s fraud detectors. Once it was online, the scammer changed the price to $10,200, claiming it was for a charitable tax break.

The fake listing said, "My family and I own many houses across the U.S. Once a year we sell one or a few of our homes to first-time buyers for under $25,000. This is done to bless a family or individual that needs it, but also as a tax write-off for us."

Interested buyers were told to call "Mandi" at a number with a Las Vegas area code. When reporters from the Kansas City Star called the number, they were told to send $200 through an online banking app before they could tour the home.

“We have people showing up at our house, knocking. They want to come in and see our house,” Bertram said.

Zillow initially asked Bertram to prove he owned the home but then left him waiting. “I've heard nothing since,” he said. “It’s just a complete scam.”

The listing was finally taken down by Zillow on Friday.

Scammers often target people looking to buy a home, creating fake listings with photos and descriptions from real posts. These fake listings usually offer homes at very low prices. Once people contact the scammers, they are asked to send personal information or a payment.

Similar scams have happened in other states, often involving expensive homes. In November, a Seattle resident reported a million-dollar home listed for $10,245 on Zillow. Like the Missouri scam, it also asked buyers to contact "Mandi" in Las Vegas and send money.

In January, Oklahoma County Assessor Larry Stein warned that scammers were listing expensive homes online at very low prices. These fake listings often included instructions to contact "Mandi" and claimed to help first-time homebuyers.

In March, Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a consumer alert about a Zillow listing for a Florida house priced at less than 3% of its actual value. The fake listing required a $4,500 deposit to view the home.

Zillow also offers advice on its website about how to spot and avoid scams, such as being wary of requests for wire transfers or prices that seem too good to be true.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), more than 9,500 people were victims of real estate fraud in 2023. The FBI advises people to avoid wiring funds to strangers, confirm the identity of the landlord, and never put money towards a house they haven’t seen.