The newest Scam in Atlanta Real Estate

Real Estate Agent with

There is a scam going on in Real Estate here. It is something you should all be aware of especially if you are a Georgia agent as it appears it is our turn. Here is how it goes. ( And yes they tried it on us.)

Buyer is usually from out of the country. You have a house listed at 1,000,000. (They only work high end.) Buyer wants the house gives you an offer at 950,000 all cash with 50,000 earnest money. The offer is always close to asking price so you will take it. The buyer always comes in around 50,000 earnest money. Everybody is really happy !!!

Now the buyer who is traveling has given his attorney a check for 50,000 for you. The "attorney" has a name and number . Obviously an accomplice. The reason you do not get a wire is that the buyer is traveling and cannot give instructions over the phone to his bank. So the check comes in and gets deposited.  A day or 2 later something tragic will happen and the buyer will cancel the deal. He will ask for his deposit back. He will want it wired. What then happens is the wire clears before the holder of the check learns it is phony and guess who is out 50,000 !!!

I cannot mention names as this persons name is shared by real legitimate people. However the country that he is calling from is Canada. So be aware. In 2008 a blog before was posted about this scam. I am also including a link to it.

Needless to say we as the listing agents and the buyers agent and the seller become very disappointed over this type of thing. it has been reported to the Canadian police and the FBI. Hopefully this dirt bag will be caught

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Charlie Ragonesi All Mountain Realty Big Canoe and Mountain Blog

On line at Call at 706 579 1098

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Judith Parker
ProStead Realty - Charlotte, NC
CRS, GRI, CMRS, Charlotte, NC

Hi Charlie, that is terrible and I am glad that you have shared this scam.  He will be found!  It can be a cruel world out there!

Jan 25, 2011 09:43 AM #1
Bill Pohl
Tetra Homes, Inc. - Loveland, OH

This type of scam has been going on for years for individuals trying to help someone in a foreign country to ship products overseas. It is a classic scam and people don't realize that just because you funds look "good" in your bank account, the clearing bank has a number of days, by law, to reverse the transaction.

Jan 25, 2011 09:52 AM #2
Rob Thomas
Prestige Homes of The Tri Cities, Inc. CALL....423-341-6954 - Bristol, TN
Bristol TN-VA & Tri Cities Agent, ABR, GRI, e-Pro

Charlie....that's unreal! I had a similar thing happen to me a year ago....he just kept saying he would bring the deposit and never did. It was a mess!

Jan 25, 2011 10:17 AM #3
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

I love the emails I get on listings that start down this road.  I find it hard to believe that anyone still falls for it but I guess they do.

Jan 25, 2011 11:10 AM #4
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate


They wouldn't be doing it if they didn't catch a fish every once in a while.


Jan 25, 2011 01:03 PM #5
Kathy Sheehan
Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021 - Atlanta, GA
Senior Loan Officer

This has happened more times than we realize.  With an earnest money deposit of that size, I would recommend funds be wired to the escrow holder.

I hope they get caught!

Jan 25, 2011 01:26 PM #6
June Tassillo
Owner/Broker RE/MAX Elite Realty - Franklin, NC
Let me help you with the next phase of your life!

Charlie ~ We constantly have to watch out for everything and anything these dirt bags come up with.  Hopefully nobody has fell for this scam lately.  It never hurts to spread the word about whats happening in you neck of the woods.  It just might travel to me.  

Jan 25, 2011 01:30 PM #7
Toula Rosebrock
Diane Turton, Realtors, Forked River, NJ - Lacey Township, NJ
Broker/Sales Associate, Realtor, Lacey Township,

Hi Charlie:

Makes you wonder who would refund a deposit without waiting to make sure the funds cleared in the first place...

Jan 25, 2011 02:47 PM #8
Rodney Mason
Guaranteed Rate - Atlanta, GA
Licensed in AL, FL, GA, SC, & TN

I think there was also an alert out about this a few months ago too.

Jan 27, 2011 01:11 PM #9
Donna Yates
BHGRE - Metro Brokers - Blue Ridge, GA
Blue Ridge Mountains

I've seen this scam in various versions many times over.  There are red flags all over something like this so listen to your gut.  I just received one of these scams by emailing me through Active Rain this morning. I've reported it as spam.  With sales down, sellers needing to sell, it's easy to fall prey so be on your guard.

Jan 28, 2011 12:56 AM #10
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

It is because of things like this that I always tell buyers it takes 10-14 days to get their escrow back from the title company. If they don't like that well then they need to move on.

Jan 30, 2011 03:35 AM #11
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