BBB (via FBI) Warns Regional Realtors:
Counterfeit Check Scam Targeting Realtors And Real Estate Attorneys
Through the years, the IC3 has continued to receive complaints reporting counterfeit check scams. In this particular scam, subjects attempt to convince unwitting victims to cash checks or money orders and wire a portion of the funds overseas. After wiring the funds, the victim discovers that the check was fraudulent and is held responsible for the check amount.
One of the latest counterfeit check scams targets realtors and real estate attorneys.
International subjects have been contacting U.S. realtors and real estate attorneys, claiming to be interested in purchasing property in the U.S.
Subjects request a properties listing from realtors, indicating their intent to pay cash for the real property. Subjects then ask the realtor to provide a local attorney to handle the purchase and conduct the closing.
Upon negotiating the price, the real estate attorneys received checks that were often written for hundreds of thousands of USD Once the check had been deposited, but before it cleared, the subject provided a reason for a portion of the funds to be wired to his account.
Often in these scams, victims are not aware that the checks are from legitimate businesses' accounts, fraudulently obtained by the subjects.
In January 2010, the IC3 released a Public Service Announcement detailing a similar counterfeit check scam, which targeted law firms in the U.S.