By Dennis Isong
Land survey scams have become a prevalent issue in Nigeria, where unsuspecting individuals fall victim to fraudulent practices.
These scams often involve deceitful land surveyors who exploit the lack of awareness and loopholes in the system to defraud innocent people.
However, by understanding the common red flags and taking precautionary measures, you can protect yourself from falling prey to such scams.
This article aims to shed light on the methods used in land survey scams in Nigeria and provide valuable tips to help you discover and avoid these fraudulent activities.
● RESEARCH AND VERIFY:
Before engaging with any land surveyor or purchasing land, it is essential to conduct thorough research and verification. Start by verifying the credentials and qualifications of the surveyor you plan to work with. Check if they are registered with the Surveyors Council of Nigeria, SURCON, the regulatory body for surveyors in Nigeria. Additionally, research the history and reputation of the surveyor or surveying firm, and seek recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, family, or legal professionals.
● CROSS-CHECK SURVEY DOCUMENTS:
Once you receive survey documents or reports, carefully scrutinise them for authenticity. Pay close attention to the surveyor’s seal, signature, and SURCON registration number. Verify the information provided in the survey documents against relevant government authorities or land registries. Inconsistencies or discrepancies may indicate fraudulent activities. If possible, consult an experienced land lawyer or another reputable surveyor to review the documents for any irregularities.
● PHYSICAL VERIFICATION:
Never solely rely on survey documents or photographs provided by the surveyor or land seller. Make an effort to physically visit and inspect the land in question. Ensure that the survey details match the actual location, dimensions, and boundaries of the land. If possible, consult with neighbouring landowners or community members to gather additional information about the land’s ownership and history.
● BEWARE OF UNREALISTIC OFFERS:
Scammers often entice potential victims with extremely attractive offers, such as significantly discounted prices or promises of quick land acquisition. Be cautious if the deal appears too good to be true. Compare the prices of similar lands in the area and consult multiple surveyors for estimates. Unrealistically low prices could be an indication of fraudulent intentions.
● USE A RELIABLE LAWYER:
Engaging a trustworthy and competent lawyer specialising in land matters is crucial to protect your interests.
A lawyer can guide you through the legal procedures, review documents, and conduct due diligence to ensure the authenticity of the land transaction.
Seek recommendations for reputable lawyers who have experience in handling land-related cases.
● REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITIES:
If you suspect any fraudulent activities or encounter a potential land survey scam, report it immediately to the appropriate authorities. Contact the Nigeria Police Force, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, or the SURCON to lodge a complaint. Provide them with all relevant details and evidence to aid their investigation and prevent further scams.
● EDUCATE YOURSELF:
Knowledge is your best defence against scams. Educate yourself about land surveying processes, legal requirements, and common fraudulent practices. Familiarise yourself with the relevant laws and regulations governing land transactions in Nigeria. By understanding the procedures and legalities involved, you can spot inconsistencies or irregularities more easily and make informed decisions.
● TRUST YOUR INTUITION:
Your instincts can be a powerful tool in identifying potential scams. If something feels off or raises suspicions during your interactions with a surveyor or land seller, trust your gut feeling. Pay attention to any warning signs, such as pressure tactics, inconsistencies in information, or lack of transparency. It is better to walk away from a questionable deal than to risk losing your hard-earned money.
● SECURE PAYMENT AND DOCUMENTATION:
When making payments or entering into agreements, prioritise secure and traceable methods. Avoid cash transactions and insist on using bank transfers or other documented payment methods. Request proper receipts and keep copies of all transaction documents, including survey reports, land deeds, and contracts. These records will serve as evidence and provide legal protection in case of any disputes or fraudulent activities.
● ENGAGE IN COMMUNITY AWARENESS:
Spread awareness about land survey scams within your community. Share your experiences and caution others about the risks involved. By creating a network of informed individuals, you can collectively combat fraudulent practices. Encourage your neighbours, friends, and family members to adopt precautionary measures when engaging in land transactions and consult professionals for guidance.
Dennis Isong is a top realtor in Lagos. He helps Nigerians in diaspora to own property in Lagos Nigeria stress-free. For Questions WhatsApp/Call 2348164741041