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Asked by Martie Lieberman, Sarasota, FL Mon Jul 19, 2010

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Ainsley Daux, Agent, Brandon, FL
Mon Jul 19, 2010
I received an email from a gentleman in Japan stating "he saw my listing on Trulia and was looking to purchase a home in Florida". The email was well written and he even add his attorney's name and number who is located in Canada. I called and spoke to the attorney and verified the information which he confirmed. According to the attorney, "he represents the man from Japan and they needed an attorney in the local area inorder to mail the the escrow deposit and funds for closing considering they were paying cash". I provided him with an attorney's info and emailed him higher end homes. He made a decision based on the curb appeal of the home and location... Since Ive worked with out of state investors who made purchases based on the pictures and additional video footage "I thought its ok"...I typed an offer and emailed it, the attorney returned it immediately, they even proposed a few questions on contingencies, inspection and the contract, which made it seem more legit and serious... Instead of emailing, I called that day and spoke to the attorney. I confirmed that the documents were received and I needed a POF; he stated "no problem" and he emailed it immediately...I even called the bank on the POF to make sure such a bank exist and it does...(The only thing the bank statment had a very, very high balance)...I did not make anything of it.( I thought nice big cash deal to close in 3 weeks "yipee".) A fews later the attorney emailed the fed ex tracking number for the deposit, I tracked it for a few days than a week went by but it never cleared the transit HUB. I called the attorney he stated "that happens sometimes and he'll resend another check"...At that point Ishould have known something was not right. Not until I received a call from a federal agent (im not naming the agency) stating this was a big scam thats when it all made sense...
Thats my story, Please becarefulI I spent alot of time and money trying to provide the best serivce to this scam artist
2 votes
Jacqueline F…, , Kissimmee, FL
Mon Jul 19, 2010

I have the same one!
He wants to close in August, so his family can be here. He has an iron and steel business?
He even picked out a house to put a contract on.
He won't wire funds, he will have his stock broker in Canada mail it.

I told him I would find him a lawyer that speaks chinese to help explain the buying process here and immigration information, haven't heard from him since.
2 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Mon Jul 19, 2010
Yes have received more than 1 scam/suspicious inquiries, some were e-mailed back to Trulia's customer service and some were simply deleted. The wording was always similar, although some were well written and others not.
2 votes
Maggie Hawk, Agent, New Smyrna Beach, FL
Mon Jul 19, 2010

You may want to add a post to the following thread as well:…

Warm regards,
Maggie Hawk, REALTOR
(386) 314-1149
Watson Realty Corp.
2 votes
Martie Liebe…, Agent, Sarasota, FL
Tue Jul 27, 2010
Thanks for your responses. I got another inquiry today through Trulia Voices, same general vague request, but this one is the first time I have seen one from South Korea. I reported and forwarded the email to Trulia's customer service. I'm really sorry this is happening - and hope Trulia can get a handle on this quickly.
Thanks all!

Martie Lieberman, GRI Realtor
Buyer's Agent and Modern Properties Specialist
SaraBay Real Estate, Inc.
Sarasota and Gulf Coast of Florida, USA
1 vote
John Juarez, Agent, Fremont, CA
Mon Jul 19, 2010
I just sent one in to Trulia Customer Service that I received from Republic Du Benin, a country in West Africa that shares a border with Nigeria. Apparently some of the people there also share an affinity for internet scams
1 vote
Emily Erekuff, Home Owner, Menifee, CA
Mon Jul 19, 2010
Thank you for this post Martie.

I just want to let everyone know that it is of the utmost importance that users forward the INITIAL MESSAGE they receive from these users through our platform. The best way that we can nip this in the bud is to block those initial messages and these users' accounts.

We also encourage everyone to share the following PSA with their broker/agent sphere to help get the word out.

Thank you,

Emily Gibson
Community Moderator
1 vote
Teresa M. Fe…, Agent, Sarasota, FL
Mon Jul 19, 2010
Hey Jacqueline, that does sound like my guy. I sent him my closing attorney's info. and never heard from him again. I'm sure she put an end to him right away. Glad I didn't go through any work and expense on it. These scammers seem to be getting a little more sophisticated.
1 vote
Myke Atwater, Agent, Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Mon Jul 19, 2010
Yes I have from two different people who are using the CBIC Bank in Toronto for their "preapproval"--I contacted CBIC and their attorney to alert them, as well as my company. You can do a quick Google search for the name, and they will show up as a scam, and I simply delete them. As fast as you send an alert there could be another name. One went so far as to send me a bank draft, and one went so far as to send me copies of passport, etc.

I also looked into alerting FBI, but their information is to tell you to basically ignore unless money has actually transferred--only then does it seem to become a crime.

good luck, and be careful--if it is too good to be true, it probably is!!

Myke Triebold, GRI
Web Reference:
1 vote
Mike Payne, Agent, sarasota, FL
Mon Jul 19, 2010
Martie, TRULIA has chosen ONLY to offer a generic warning re: this exploding & dangerous SCAM.

In the past few weeks, I've heard from real estate agents, closing agents & sellers who LOST money (not just time) because of this scam.

TRULIA owes it to visitors and members to ALERT people to (this) scam.

@Terri, sounds like you've received similar solicitation.

I too recently faced this scam, though I *thought* it was legit. I thought it was a previous customer contacting me again. Check the link I've posted where I documented the scam as I experienced it.

Buyers, sellers, closing and real estate agents have enough with which to contend w/o facing scams.

Stay safe, Everyone.

Mike Payne
Ask Realty
941-928-8145 (cell)

I help homeowners avoid foreclosure!
1 vote
Debra B Albe…, Agent, Port St Lucie, FL
Mon Jul 19, 2010
Yes, I have sent a couple. We also get them from is NOT just a Trulia issue.

Debbie Albert, PA
Coldwell Banker Residential
1 vote
Teresa M. Fe…, Agent, Sarasota, FL
Mon Jul 19, 2010
I received an inquiry from China but it looked legit. It was very well written and gave full contact details for the prospect along with his company website. He mentioned relocating to our area and also wanted a referral for a real estate attorney so he could have his stockbroker in Canada wire the funds into escrow prior to his visit. He wanted to have some listings emailed to him.

Was this a scam? I don't know, what would be the intent?
1 vote
Carrie Rober…, , Sarasota, FL
Mon Jul 19, 2010
Hi Martie,

Thanks for posting this as I have been receiving requests lately via Trulia. The English is broken, usually from an Asian country, always looking for a 4 br home in a range from $400K-$1.2 with a view and vague, no mention of a city. It was pointed out in the last Sarasota Realtor Magazine to report it to: The Federal Trade Commission at 1-800-F-T-CHELP or visit the FBI's Internet Fraud Wedsite at

My suggestion is not to respond to any of these emails and report them immediately.

Thank you,
Carrie Roberts
Michael Saunders & Company
5100 Ocean Blvd
Sarasota, Fl 34242
1 vote
Alma Kee, Agent, Tampa, FL
Mon Jul 19, 2010
I recently got an inquiry and it looks suspicious but it is well written (unlike many of the spam emails) but looks like a scam. This is the first time I've gotten a scam email via Trulia so I appreciate the post to remind me to report it.
1 vote
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Mon Jul 19, 2010
Really, nobody is so busy that they can't talk to you directly concerning a purchase with a price with a comma or two in it.
0 votes
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