Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price’s Real Estate Fraud Unit Warns Public on Vacant Lot Sale Scam

Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price’s Real Estate Fraud Unit Warns Public on Vacant Lot Sale Scam

June 4, 2024

OAKLAND, CA—Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price’s Real Estate Fraud Unit is warning the public and real estate professionals about a fraudulent scheme in which a fraudster impersonates the owners of a vacant lot to fraudulently sell it quickly at a discount.

In this case, a real estate agent was duped into working on the sale of a vacant lot in a residential Oakland neighborhood valued at $1.1 million at the discounted price of $560,000. The fraudster contacted the realtor on the phone, claiming he was dying of cancer at a treatment facility in Texas and needed to sell the Oakland property as soon as possible to spare his wife. As a result, the fraudster could not meet the realtor in person and conducted all business over the phone and through emails. The scheme was disrupted eleven days before escrow closed when the escrow officer researched where the rightful owners lived and contacted them. The owners denied any intention to sell their property, and the transaction was canceled.

Upon investigation, the Alameda County Real Estate Fraud Unit found that this fraudulent scheme had also been perpetrated in other states. Based on this active criminal enterprise, it is recommended that buyers also be wary when buying undeveloped properties.

“If you own vacant land in Alameda County, please be aware of this scam and keep an eye on the title of your property,” said District Attorney Pamela Price. You can type your property’s street address on any real estate website or search engine. If an “Active Listing” appears on your property, a listing that you did not authorize, you can contact the listing agent directly to notify them of the problem and notify my office’s Real Estate Fraud Unit.”

For information on how to file a claim, visit the District Attorney Real Estate Fraud Unit webpage, or you can call 510 383-8600 for a complaint form.


The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office (DAO) is one of California’s largest prosecutors’ offices and is led by Alameda County’s first Black woman District Attorney Pamela Y. Price. Price brings her vision to this office to fairly administer justice in the pursuit of thriving, healthy, and safe communities for every person who steps foot in Alameda County, no matter their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, income, or zip code. Price has been recognized as one of the most progressive prosecutors through her forward-thinking, innovative strategies to interrupt cycles of violence and crime and bring change to a criminal justice system rooted in systemic racism. Follow Madam DA on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and @AlamedaCountyda on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.