This week, I received a full price all cash offer closing in 5 weeks on one of my listings! Sounds good, doesn’t it? I asked the buyer’s agent to provide “proof of funds.” As the seller’s agent, it was not in my client’s best interest to present an offer without proof that the buyer actually had the money. The agent understood and went about getting the proof of funds.
After a couple of hours of silence, more red flags kept popping up and my gut instinct said something was wrong. Luckily, the buyer’s agent sent me a string of email communication between the buyer and herself. In her mind, she did this to establish how serious of a buyer he was. Once I read the emails, more red flags appeared!
I googled his name and the very first site that appeared is the titleÂ Real Estate Bad Deposit Cheque Scam by Shuimkoda Joji! The name of our buyer! Check out the website. Some of what he writes in the email communication with his Realtor is word for word what is on this websiteâ€””love the curb appeal of this property, I want to close on the 28th of April 2011, please forward the purchase contract to me via DocuSign, an electronic way of signing documents,” and gives the website. He goes on to ask for the agent’s personal attorney’s information to deposit the check into his/her trust account.
Statements like this:
“I strongly advice that I need an attorney in your state to represent my interest in this transaction, so therefore, I would like to deposit all payments with the lawyer.”
Now, I am sure you are asking, “how does this guy profit?” Here is a quote from the website…
Jackson Law Offices
245 E. Laurel Street
Fort Bragg, CA. 95437 USA
Jim says, “…. as Iâ€™m aware of this scam (which takes advantage of the time lag in processing checks, particularly internationally) I spoke with our local banker who advised me that it is impossible to guarantee that a check is good even with a significant (3-4 week) waiting period. Wiring funds is the only guarantee.”
So, Hawaii Lifers, and to all our Realtors on the Big Island, beware. Since this happened, I have heard of 3 other real estate scams.Â Be careful, and most importantly, listen to your gut!