Be careful with fake checks

Real Estate Agent with EWM of Aventura


Be careful when it sounds too good to be true.  I received a call from someone asking details on a property I had for rent.  He was calling from out of town and needed to move in soooon.  So he said he would send us a check to reserve the property.  We gave him the address where to send the check and asked him to sign the papers too. 

We received the contract back with the name (fake) and the signature plus the check of the first, last and one month security.  Looks good, right?  Nope.  He sent us more money than we had asked for.  So he sent us an email saying that please deposit the check and send him back the overage because he had made a mistake.  Of course it didn't sound right.  So we told him that before we deposited the check he needed to fill out all the paperwork for the condominium association with a background check and credit check.  He said he would fill it all out immediately but to please send the overage because he needed the money. 

 All this was by email, no phone number and no personal information. Feeling that something was not right,  we didn't deposit the check and we told him that as soon as we received the information and the check cleared we would refund his money.

Of course we waited for his information and of course nothing came. 

Why?  The idea is this.  They send you a check with an overage.  You deposit the check they send you and the bank clears it.  After a few days the bank comes back to you to tell you the check was no good.  In the meantime you already refunded their overage and they are nowhere to be found !!! 

 BE VERY CAREFUL  when you receive checks and the person doesn't give you personal information you can check.  We were saved because we thought it didn't sound right.

Hope nobody falls for this.

Comments (6)

Neetu Kainthla
BHHS Caliber Realty - College Station, TX

How did the check come?

Where were you supposed to send the overage?

If the check came by mail, it is a mail fraud.

This scam is straight out of the "Nigerian" e-mail fraud except the dollar amount may be lower. I hope everyone knows about it and don't fall for this kind of scam.

Jul 15, 2007 05:00 AM
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos
This is exactly the same as scams to buy horses, cars, you name it.  Always a sense of urgency and always over the agreed upon amount.  Where does it all end !
Jul 15, 2007 05:07 AM
Dan Homan
Coldwell Banker Ellison Realty, Inc - Ocala, FL
Question:  what does your broker say?  Here in Florida there are specific rules for handling money and escrow.  Before I hold a check without depositing it, I would check with my broker and the FAR legal hot-line.  Although this is a scam, in Florida mishandling escrow funds can cost your license.
Jul 15, 2007 05:09 AM
Judy Klahr
EWM of Aventura - Aventura, FL

 The checks came from a place in the USA but the interested person was supposed to be from the UK.  So they send cashiers checks that they know take longer than normal to clear.

Yes, they show a sense of urgency not to give you the time to clear the check.

I never got to the point of where to send the check because I insisted on the background check for the condominium as my way of stalling them and of course that was when there was no more contact with me.

I am a realtor but it was my own property so I was acting at that moment as owner.  They are targeting owners because they know that they are not so experienced and there are no laws involved.

Jul 15, 2007 05:32 AM
Thomas Hargreaves
TriStar Financial Services - Eugene, OR

Judy, great post.  This is a new or maybe not so new scam that I have been hearing about for the past several months. 

Sep 04, 2008 04:20 AM

Thanks,  if we can all share the information, then it won't work for them anymore and they will stop.   Of course they always figure out a new scam.  In the meantime, watch out for the internet.  But I have to say,  don't think everyone is a scam artist.  I have worked with a couple of great clients from the internet.  But before I worked with them, I checked them out and was very careful in every move.

Good luck !

Sep 04, 2008 02:15 PM