In the last few weeks, I received several calls and emails from agents who said they googled a potential buyer's name, number, other identifying information and found my blog about this scam.
It may bear repeating to make sure none of us fall for this scam.
What is this scam about?
- Agent receives email about one of his listings
- Buyer claims to live out of country, wants to buy agent's listing and wants to use agent for the transaction(Woo hoo! Double-end!)
- Gives his name --- and it could be any of these
Seiichiro Matsubayashi, Otake Iwao, Noriko Ine, Wu Quian, Tanaka Satomi
- Says he'll pay cash, but wants 30 days to close escrow (red flag)
- Wants agent to work through buyer's "attorney" Edward Brown 1-416-824-1768. He'll deposit
he'll deposit escrow funds through this "attorney" (but why not local title company?. Other "attorneys" mentioned: Peter Smith, Perry Owen (red flag)
- Buyer has such a large budget range, from $400,000 to $2,000,000 (depends on which property he's looking at)
- Provides address where he lives, but address 2000 Sheppard Ave. Toronto ON, M3N 2J1. Google that address and you'll see it associated with various other names, all part of the scam (BIG RED FLAG)
- Claims he's seen the property (shown by whom?)
- Says he wants to have home that befits his Chinese culture (but the name is Japanese?)
So how is it a scam?
Many realtors receive the same email, the same instructions to send the contract so he can sign via Docusign (yep, he mentions it) the same proof of funds, the same "passport with different names.
At least a couple realtors in some of the forums where this scam was reported, mentioned how they fell for this:
- One realtor went ahead and scheduled inspections and paid for them.. the deal didn't materialize, so she had to absorb the costs of the inspections
- Another realtor received a note from the scammer saying that the scammer deposited too big an amount in the escrow account, and would like to be reimbursed for the difference, and wanted the realtor to send him the funds (NO, NO, NO!)
So if you receive such a tempting email from a "buyer" who wants to pay cash, at full price, for one of our listings...do your research. If it sounds too good to be true, it is!
Go to the FBI's website on Common Fraud Schemes.