First things first: To avoid being flimflammed by an identity thief posing as the property owner of record, make certain that the person you are negotiating with is the owner and not an imposter. The best way to verify that the person you are meeting with is, in fact, the property owner is to do what I do when I meet with an owner for the first time: Show your driver's license, and ask the owner to do likewise. As I show the owner my Florida driver's license, I matter-of-factly explain that I am doing this because of the rampant spread of identity theft. And if for whatever reason, the owner refuses to identify who he or she is by showing me some form of government-issued photo identification, I politely excuse myself and get up and leave. So far, I have met with only one property owner who refused to show me a photo identification.
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