Seattle Tacoma Short Sale Scams - Watch OUT!

Real Estate Broker/Owner with VITUS Realty, LLC 18189

Seattle Tacoma Short Sale Scams - Watch OUT!


SCAM ninja
My Short Sale attorneys, MBS-Law, just warned me of this short sale scam about a real estate professional who was all excited as he had lined up a short sale buyer on a short sale residential property in the Seattle Tacoma, WA. The short sale buyer was paying all cash, and it was going to be a quick close.  This short sale buyer wanted to have an attorney represent him in his purchase, as he was from outside the Seattle Tacoma WA area, in fact the short sale buyer was from Canada.

The short sale buyer wanted to wire the substantial earnest money deposit to the attorney’s trust
account for safe keeping.  The real estate professional had referred MBS-Law because of past dealings in regards to Seattle and Tacoma short sales, and was surprised when the firm flatly rejected taking on this short sale buyer as a client and accepting his money.

HERE'S THE SCAM..........

Actually it’s the Attorney gets scammed. The real estate professional doesn't ever really get a sale as they are just the facilitator as the scam artist takes the money from the attorney.

The attorney generally is elated and takes on the engagement as the short sale buyer and scam artist includes a healthy retainer with his deposit. In fact, the buyer gives the attorney a CASHIER'S CHECK!!!!  The attorney deposits the check only to find out that the buyer has changed their mind and the deal is off. The short sale buyer asks the attorney to wire the funds, but allows the Seattle Tacoma attorney to keep the retainer for his services.  This is happening all over the US right now, not just Seattle and Tacoma.

The CASHIER'S CHECK is fraudulent and is from a bank in Canada. It take about  three weeks until the attorney's bank advises the attorney that the check was no good and the attorney loses as the bank demands that the attorney deposit the lost funds to that account.

It’s the 13th time this year MBS-Law has encountered this SCAM regarding Seattle Tacoma short sales.

What to look out for?


  •     They have not looked at the short sale property.
  •     They will be paying cash.
  •     Escrow will close in about a month.
  •    They always show a bank statement as proof of funds.
  • The short sale buyer is NOT from the United States.




Short Sale HouseRecently a law firm lost $400K from their trust account in a similar short sale scam. It won't hurt you, but you REALLY DON'T have a deal even though it looks and feels like a good deal.

Stay away from this one!  And whether you’re in Seattle, Tacoma or anywhere else if it seems too good to be true…




If you’re a homeowner and  need VA Short Sale Help in Seattle, Tacoma or Washington State call or text me John M. Cameron 206-910-0200 or email I’d be happy to help in any way I can.




Some Useful Short Sale Links:


What is a Seattle Tacoma Short Sale?

VA Short Sale Help in Seattle, Tacoma and Washington State and BIG changes to HAFA 2012

Military Short Sale for 2012 – VA Compromise Sale – JBLM and PSNS

Seattle Tacoma JBLM VA Short Sales - The HAP Program is Still Working



Seattle Tacoma Short Sale Scams - Watch OUT!


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John Cameron
VITUS Realty, LLC - Seattle, WA
Real Estate Investing Seattle Tacoma

Donald:  Thanks for commenting.  I think when agents and lawyers are desperate they'll believe what they want to believe.

Sherry:  Thank you so much for your comments.  I don't find it odd that an investor would buy a property sight unseen if recommended by an agent who previewed it.  But you still have to be careful.

May 11, 2012 02:14 PM #21
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

This type of scam has been around a few years now.  I will not even take a Cashier's Check unless drawn on a local bank and I can call and confirm funds.  I also always let the chek provider know that the check must clear the bank drawn on prior to receiving goods or closing.

May 11, 2012 02:28 PM #22
Brin Realty Associates Team At Bean Group
Bean Group | Brin Realty Associates - Amherst, NH
Amherst NH homes and Southern NH real estate

Oh yes, we've seen this too, but not with the short sale scenario...ours has been an international buyer that wants to pay cash, hire an attorney yata yata...same deal....and 3 weeks is a long time to find out the check is a fraud.  And the escrow deposits aren't just peanuts either..yikes.

May 11, 2012 07:50 PM #23
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Hi John,

And now we understand why the banks will only take wired funds as earnest money on an all cash deal!


May 11, 2012 07:51 PM #24
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

John, I've heard of this scam before. Luckily, I don't know anyone who was taken by it. Thanks for pointing it out. Nice to be reminded. You never know when it might happen. Thanks.

May 11, 2012 10:37 PM #25
Dawn Maloney
RE/MAX Haven - Northeast Ohio Real Estate Specialist - Hudson, OH
330-990-4236 Hudson & Northeastern Ohio

Wow. I had a close call with someone who was trying to buy his own house in a short sale...commiting wire fraud, and it's amazing how easy it is to: #1 commit these scams; #2 over and over again; #3 rarely be caught.

May 11, 2012 10:38 PM #26
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

It's not just short sales. It's all transactions. A little while back we had this happen on a cash transaction in Sacramento. The buyer sent a check to the title company and a few weeks later asked for his $300,000 back. Said his wife would not sign the escrow paperwork and he could not buy without her signature. Title almost sent it too, but thank goodness they verified funds. Our title companies won't even close with cash for 24 hours.

May 11, 2012 10:41 PM #27
Kathryn Maguire (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

Yet another variation on the cashier check scam.  This is repeated all over the country in a variety of ways.

May 11, 2012 11:02 PM #28
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

These people are always trolling for the one who takes the bait....I have won oversea lotteries consistently, rich Sheikhs and Sultans have needed my help, women with lots of money and love thought I was meant for them and I am reminded by investors how I can double end a deal if I ......What nonsense.....

May 12, 2012 12:11 AM #29
John Cameron
VITUS Realty, LLC - Seattle, WA
Real Estate Investing Seattle Tacoma

Rene:  Thanks for commenting.  Wow you actually ran across this personally.  That's Crazy.  I am hoping that even before getting the update from my attorneys I would have had my red flag radar on, and thought something was weird.

Phil:  Thanks for commenting.  One of my investors specifys certified/bank check only when they sell.

Michael:  Thanks for commenting.  You're welcome.

Dawn:  Thanks for commenting.  Buy his OWN home via short sale.  Self directed principle reduction.  Yikes!

Elizabeth:  Thanks for commenting.  Oh it sucks bad enough just to lose a transaction.

Kathryn:  Thanks for commenting.

May 12, 2012 12:15 AM #30
John Cameron
VITUS Realty, LLC - Seattle, WA
Real Estate Investing Seattle Tacoma

Richie:  Thanks your comments.  There's a sucker born every minute.  Just give me a good move up buyer that's all I ask.  Where did they go any way?

May 12, 2012 12:17 AM #31
Adrian Willanger
206 909-7536 - Seattle, WA
Profit from my two decades of experience

Hi John,

I had a very similar situation with a buyer from England, same exact scenario but it was on a million dollar house. The house went pending the day before any paper work was completed. Thanks for the heads up. 

May 12, 2012 01:42 AM #32
John Cameron
VITUS Realty, LLC - Seattle, WA
Real Estate Investing Seattle Tacoma

Hey Adrian!  Thanks for swinging by.  Send me some million dollar buyers would you?

May 12, 2012 01:50 AM #33
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Thanks for sharing.  And since we don't use attorneys as we're a Non-Judicial State, guess who they target in
Arizona?  Me!  I've seen these in e-mail form.  It's an immediate DELETE!  Best of luck!

May 12, 2012 01:53 AM #34
John Cameron
VITUS Realty, LLC - Seattle, WA
Real Estate Investing Seattle Tacoma

Jan:  Washington is a non judicial state as well.

May 12, 2012 02:17 AM #35
Jo Olson
HOMEFRONT Realty - Kettle Falls, WA
HOMEFRONT Realty @ LAKE Roosevelt - Stevens County

I had conversations this year with this type of scam.  Of course I knew the signs - forwareded the emails I received to the FBI. 

May 12, 2012 07:50 AM #36
Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216, - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

Hi John, I had this same type of Scam pulled on me last year from a gentleman from Japan. Our Attorney Escrow officers waited to see if that Caahier's check would clear before we would even present any offers. It didn't clear, and in fact that Bank the check was drawn on said they did not know that buyer. I kept a copy of the check as a Reminder.


May 13, 2012 12:31 AM #37
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

This is not a new scam and it is not just for short sales. I have seen numerous emails from strangers from out of the country who claim to be retiring to “my area” and requesting that I send a list of homes that they might be able to buy. Their criteria are always very broad but the price point is attractive. I know that if I pursue these leads that I will be pursuing someone who will eventually send a phony cashier’s check to me or my title company.

May 13, 2012 02:58 AM #38
Courtney Cooper
Team Leader/ Investor for Brand New Keller Williams North Seattle Office - Seattle, WA

Hey John- Long time no see - hope you are well.  Nice to see you in the rain.  Thanks for the heads up- amazing what is up out there!  Courtney

May 13, 2012 11:06 AM #39
Jack O'Neal
Conway Real Estate - Gilbert, AZ

Interesting comment

May 14, 2012 03:26 AM #40
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Real Estate Investing Seattle Tacoma
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