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Expatriate Land Scams

Mon, 2 Aug 2010 08:03:55

Foreigners and Expatriate living overseas are scamming other Foreigners into buying highly over-priced Real Estate. There is no appraisal of the land, traditional protections are not in place, and the only hope for the purchaser is to find the next naive Foreigner who comes to sell the land to downstream.

This is why most Expatriate sites are full of Real Estate deals, the locals are too smart to purchase, they know the game the Foreigners are doing to each other.

Swampland in Florida refers to decades-old but still recurring real estate scams involving swamp lands misrepresented as being possible to develop, or "buildable". These scams became widely known and now also have meaning as a common figure of speech.

Expressions like "I have swampland in Florida to sell you" or "I have prime swampland to sell you" are slang expressions that the recipient shows gullibility. It says figuratively that someone lacks sense like one who would fall for an old deception or fraud of paying large amounts of money for a worthless item such as swampland. These phrases are often preceded by or imply, "If you believe that then..." Sometimes other swampy locations besides Florida are used in the term.

Origin of the term
Similar terms came from the early 1900s where con-men would sell landmarks to which no one owns the title such as the Brooklyn Bridge to newly-arrived immigrants in the United States. The phrase about gullibility referring to those events said, "if you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you."[1] Those evolved in the 1960s and 1970s to include fraudulent sales of worthless swampland real estate in Florida.[2]

Though the term originates in the United States, it is now also understood and used in other English-speaking countries.

Actual value of swampland
The common usage of this term implies that swampland is worthless. Without development or some ability to develop it, it isn't valuable for real estate purposes. There have been cases that swampland was purchased and turned into very valuable property, notably for the creation of Walt Disney World Resort and also to some extent including many developed lands in Florida. On the other hand, there are also arguments made for the value of scenery and wildlife found in swamplands in their natural condition. Sometimes that is done by businesses to meet a development permit requirement to preserve some Florida land in order to build on other Florida land.[3]

Swampland scams
In the 1960s and 1970s, scammers used nationwide advertising to lure victims to buy Florida real estate without visiting the properties first. It was a form of confidence trick. The new owners came to find their land was under water in a swamp or in some other way impossible to build upon. As the scam became widely known, California and New York legislators acted in 1963 to restrict this false advertising. Florida also enacted the Installment Land Sales Act that year in an effort to restore its reputation.[4]

Swampland scams still occur in Florida. The Internet has brought about a resurgence via online auctions of Florida real estate. Scammers circumvent commercial registration requirements by making one-on-one sales. Over great distances some buyers can be convinced to pay before verifying claims. It usually involves unbuildable swampland misrepresented as buildable to fraudulently inflate the sale price.[5][6][7]

Swampland in Arizona
A similar phrase, which replaces the Florida with Arizona is also used for the same reasons. As Arizona is well known to have an arid climate, it is assumed that wetlands in that state are extremely rare. The implication is that the target of the insult is not only more gullible than someone who would buy swampland in Florida, but also ignorant

International Living Real Estate Scams on Expats the same as before...