All cash international buyer ---- scam is still going on

Real Estate Agent with Alain Pinel BRE 01367196

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.

SCAM ALERT: cash buyer from out-of-area/country even provides "passport" and "proof of funds"

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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 your research. If it sounds too good to be true, it is!

Go to the FBI's website on Common Fraud Schemes.


This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
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California Alameda County
Diary of a Realtor
The Vent
Club Chaos
scam alert
2000 shepppard ave
fbi common fraud schemes
cash offer from unknown buyer for unseen property

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Jim Patton
Century 21 M&M - 209-404-0816 - Turlock, CA
Realtor - Stanislaus & Merced county Realtor.

Pacita -  Seems like there is always someone out there trying to take advantage of someone else.  Thanks for the warning.

Feb 17, 2011 08:44 PM #1
Ted Tyrrell
DFH Real Estate Ltd. - Victoria, BC
Selling Homes in Beautiful Victoria

Pacita, thanks for the heads up on this guy. It is a legitimate address (apartment building).

Feb 17, 2011 08:49 PM #2
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Jim -- it's amazing how many realtors called me to confirm it's a scam. There was such a deep sigh of loss


Ted ---  Looked like a nice building, too! Maybe the scammer IS from Canada because he keeps referring to his attorney in Canada.

Feb 17, 2011 09:01 PM #3
Fred Griffin
Frederick Griffin, Licensed Real Estate Broker - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Pacita, what is amazing is how many Real Estate Agents fall for this Scam.

I get them once or twice a week, from Trulia, from Zillow, from other websites.

DELETE it without opening it.   You WILL lose money if you engage these Thieves in a conversation.

Feb 17, 2011 10:42 PM #4
Marc Swartz, CPA, CA, Real Estate Broker
RE/MAX Vision Realty Inc., Brokerage, Direct: (416) 737-9800, Office: (416) 321-2228 - Toronto, ON
Toronto, Durham & York Regions, Ontario, Canada

Pacita - I have seen others report this particular scam on ActiveRain in the past.

The postal code provided does not relate to any address on Sheppard.  Sheppard Avenue should either be Sheppard Avenue East or Sheppard Avenue West.  There is no "Sheppard Avenue" in Toronto.

We also do not use title companies in Ontario.

Feb 17, 2011 11:31 PM #5
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale - Probate Specialist

Pacita, Thanks for the reposting. I am amazed at how many agents fall for these scams.

Feb 18, 2011 12:43 PM #6
An Bui
DocuSign - Seattle, WA

Pacita, thanks for sharing about this scammer. DocuSign has published a blog post, "Before you eSign a Contract Online" to reiterate two things: First, that scammers are using the DocuSign name to make their messages seem legitimate. Second, that you should know who are you dealing with in online transactions before you sign a contract online. 

Feb 21, 2011 12:44 PM #7
Kevin J. Roy Sr.
ERA Bettinger Realtors, Inc. - Austin, TX

Well this scam has resurfaced in Austin as of last week, this time under the name of Tom Shung, same home address and offer outline.  CIBC of Toronto has confirmed that the statement provided was not valid nor did Mr. Shung have an account with CIBC.  Even on multiple request a government issue picture ID reflecting current address, one was never provided.

We all need to be on our toes when it comes to accepting documents from an unkown wishing to sign by an electronic means or e-signature. 

Situations like this have been my concern when it comes to e-signatures, what verification do we have that the person on the other end is in fact the person as signed. I had called Docusign regarding Mr. Shung and their response was that "his name and information looked valid".


Feb 21, 2011 03:52 PM #8
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Pacita Dimacali

Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
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