In today’s housing market it can be difficult to sell a home (or even a restaurant). Many homeowners looking to relocate are finding themselves sitting on a home they are unable to move. Therefore, when they receive an offer of purchase they are usually so excited that they fail to see that it might be too good to be true.
A scam making the rounds these days takes advantage of homeowners’ eagerness to close the sale and relocate. The scam involves a supposed interested buyer from China (Hong Kong) who needs to relocate to the United States, Canada, Great Britain, or Australia and is willing to purchase a property sight unseen.
The scammer, who has a crime partner in one of the countries mentioned above, will send a cashier’s check to the attorney set up to handle the escrow. The forgery is very realistic so the home seller and attorney believe this check to be real. They will then send a communication to the attorney stating that they sent too much and they need $10,000 wired back to a foreign account.
Of course, once the funds are wired, the seller never hears from the “buyer” again and they are stuck, waiting to move and out $10,000.
Watch the video below to learn some tips on how to avoid the fake cashier’s check fraud.
How to avoid the Foreign Investor scam:
First, beware of doing business with anyone claiming to be in such dire need for housing that they are willing to buy a home sight unseen. This is the first red flag. The best line of defense is to do an internet search of the buyer’s name.
Many people who do this will discover that these scammers are so brazen they will use the same name to perpetuate this scam over and again. Doing a name search often turns up information about the scam, and the communications they have sent you are typically quoted word for word.
Working with a real estate agent is often the best way to avoid these scams, as they are often well-versed in these types of schemes. Trying to sell a home in a down economy can be complicated. In your eagerness to sell, don’t be so anxious to make a sale that you put your common sense on hold. If something appears too good to be true, it most likely is.
How to report the Foreign Investor scam:
Make your family and friends aware of this scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
How to protect yourself more:
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