Real Estate Scam from China.

Last week, one of our agents was contacted via email from a man wanting to buy this agent’s listing (Condo).  This man claims he is about to retire  from China and move to the USA.  He wants to pay cash and wants the agent to write up the transaction and Docusign it to him.  The agent was a bit suspicious and told this man he would need to send a check for the entire purchase price and deposit it with escrow immediately.  Of course the man said he wouldn’t do that but he would send the agent a copy of his bank statement showing he had sufficient funds to close.  The man sends a copy of his passport and a copy of his bank statement showing plenty of money to close.  The agent still a bit hesitant sends the P & S via Docusign and can see that the buyer did open the file and said he needed to have his attorney review it. The agent called the number on the  bank statement for the bank to verify the funds, but the buyer had blacked out the account number and the bank said they needed the account number to verify.

The agent then told someone else about this and they did a little detective work and found out this guy has done this many times. He sends escrow the earnest money check and then wants out of the deal and wants the earnest money back right away.  Problem is, the check he sends is no good to begin with.

This is a huge waste of our agents time and all agents need to know this guy is doing this a lot per a website that we found:

See the site here.

Click here to see the comments on this scam

Agents always be aware, this stuff happens from time to time and you need to be on guard.

Posted on July 27, 2010 at 2:37 pm
Michael Fanning | Category: Real Estate Related, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

20 responses to “Real Estate Scam from China.”

  1. Cynthia says:

    Have a “deal” going on now with someone who is “Canadian” but this sounds very similiar to what we are dealing with. I made him send the check from his stockbroker made directly to the escrow company. Once we were informed it did not clear we emailed the buyer who is “in China on business” and also called the “stockbroker” and told them we now need a cashiers check to replace or we are cancelling. So really baffling as I got the money way up front and they have not tried to cancel the deal, we are cancelling on them. This just sounds too familiar to not be the same attempted scam but we would not give them funds that were no good so not sure how they thought they would benefit. The buyer gave me a date he would be here to finish the transaction as well.

  2. Michael Fanning says:

    Hi Cynthia, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck in many cases it’s a duck. I would be careful.

  3. Kay says:

    Mike, we had this exact experience in our office. After receiveing the bank information and urgent message to purchase, the agent sent back an e-mail. We were very sketical. He ask if they had someone local they could sign a power of attorney over to. Our thinking was maybe they had a relative or friend here and that was why they may be moving here. No reply received to that e-mail. This was about a month ago.

  4. Kim Young says:

    It’s now happening here in San Antonio, TX
    Except the party is from Japan.

  5. Michael Fanning says:

    Hi Kim hopefully the links in the article were able to give you some insight.

  6. Kim Young says:

    Yes, thank you. SABOR put out a Scam alert which I noticed today. I did get the signed offer back from the party via Docusign but I had already told him I wouldn’t present the offer without verified funds. Fortunately I know now not to waste anymore time. There were several other agents in SA who were contacted as well. Thanks!

  7. Kim Young says:

    The Title Company received a cashiers check yesterday for $597,000. The Bank said it was one of the best forgeries they had seen.

  8. Michael Fanning says:

    Hi Kim, Wow it’s great that you were onto this and caught it.

  9. I have just received an offer to purchase a home listed for $900,000 in our market. Same ammo here — the client wants to send a check for $15,000 as a deposit, paying cash and he also sends along a bank statement with his account number blacked out. Looks like we have the same guy trying to do business with us. Thanks so much for your posting — Realtors Beware!!!

  10. Michael Fanning says:

    Hi Susan you are welcome. These scams can seem very real but once you begin to look closer you began to see something is just not right. I’m glad I could help.

  11. Deana O'Neal Realty says:

    Same thing here, I have a realty company in Arlington, Ky. Kept getting back and forth emails from this guy and of course on the most expensive piece of property I have listed. Glad this is on here to help realtors and their clients.

  12. Glenda Kane says:

    Thanks this is very helpful. I received a very similar email almost exactly the same. Neo Yu is his name. Have a copy of this bank statement with the number blacked out and wants to send $15000 on a $875000 home. Will be here end of next month. Will be interested in seeing what happens next.

  13. I’m so glad I found your posting. I have been contacted by an individual from China who wants to buy one of my listings. He will pay a $15000 deposit, has sent a copy of his Bank of China bank statement showing a $1.2M balance and the account number is blacked out. We were very suspicious but also didn’t want to blow him off in the slim chance he was for real. Thank you! Bye-bye China guy.

  14. Daphne says:

    Neo Yu has made the rounds at our office as well. Same MO as all above. My one question is this. If the fake/bad $15K escrow check is deposited, is the account holder responsible to make that right, or does a hold prevent that?

  15. Glenda says:

    If the check is deposited and he backs out of his deal and you send him his deposit back. Yes, your bank will hold you responsible for those funds. I required a EFT and he still sent me a check. We did deposit it, and still haven’t heard if it has cleared. Really don’t expect it to.

  16. David Graff says:

    I am not a realtor, but I thought you’d be interested to know how “popular” this kind of scam is now (that is, how clueless and indiscriminate the scammers have become in their search for victims). My employer uses some organizational email addresses that have been “harvested” onto spammer lists for years, and I get some of the resulting email (despite cutting-edge spam detection software). Seeing a “Dear Realtor” message from “Doctor Aman Coonar” (who has a Hong Kong email address, lives in the UK and is looking for a $250-450K property “in my area”) was an amusing diversion for me… (I work in the linguistics department at an ivy-league university; not a good place to ask about real estate listings.)

  17. Karen says:

    here in Washington state it happened to us. here is his email ;

    Please understand that I would not be comfortable settling the required up-front deposit directly to a third party Hence I want an attorney to be intermediary to oversee the escrow before I arrive with my wife next month.
    I hope you understand my plights, kindly get back to me with contacts of a good attorney so we can move forward in accord.

    As I have said before, the home will be a cash buy and I and my wife will fly to USA for viewing the property but before that I would like my stock broker in America to send the money to your firm via a lawyer/solicitor.
    I want to make the funds available in USA before coming to view the property, please I would want you to retain a lawyer for me so that my stock broker can send the funds directly to him to keep in a trust account until I arrive in USAwith my wife.
    Please let me know the lawyer retaining fees and charges so that my stock broker can include all in the payment he would be sending to the lawyer.
    Kindly get back to me with a candid response as I plan to be in USA soon.

  18. Desiree Maurer says:

    Glad I came across your post. I have been dealing with this same guy for the past couple of weeks…Thought it was skeptical too but as others said, had a slim glimmer of hope it was an honest transaction. Told him he had to wire the money to our attorney ($15,000 and was paying cash for a $520,000 deal…), sent the same exact bank statement as others mentioned…Keeps saying his wife is ill and apologized for the delay in responding…G’bye Mr. Neo!

  19. Michael Fanning says:

    Desiree, I’m glad you found this article helpful. It amazes me how many people have experienced this scam and how little there is out there about it.

  20. dave stroud says:

    Same guy did this to a realtor in Orange County, CA except he sent a deposit which cleared and then sent a check for $295K on Royal Bank of Canada which I still haven’t deposited since I asked for wire transfer. He fails to answer all questions for id, he gives a false address in Beijing and pretends he’s on a oil platform when he sends some of his e-mails. Claims to be Chan Chin and his email address is []. His phoney address is Flat 12 Futong West Street, Chaoyang, Beijing, China Telephone: +86968942776. Don’t trust this piece of dog do do. Don’t bother to call the police or FBI, they don’t even return the calls. You’re on your own people and next they’ll be coming for you.

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