About Mary Elizabeth Allen

Mary Elizabeth Allen is the Marketing Director for The Real Estate Group and oversees the brokerage's marketing and social media efforts. She has worked for nearly two decades in the marketing industry and has also been involved in real estate for five years. A passion for branding is driven by her work on such well-known brands as STAR WARS, Dungeons & Dragons, and Capital One. Since 2007, she's been immersed in real estate, gaining perspective on the industry by working on the association side, consulting with nationally-known real estate trainers, and getting the view from the brokerage side.

Agents: A Real Estate Scam Focused on YOU

Oftentimes when we talk about real estate scams, we talk about potential buyers, sellers, or renters being targeted,


with those of us in real estate trying to keep our clients and the public informed about pitfalls to watch out for and avoid. Recently, however, a scam has come to the forefront that is focused on agents, and it’s sophisticated in nature.

In a nutshell, an out-of-country buyer emails an agent about purchasing a home in the agent’s local area. They use proper English, present a believable story, and provide bank names or financial advisor contact information to increase legitimacy. They correspond with the agent about a particular property and also ask for the name of a local real estate attorney to aid in the transaction. The hiccup comes when the buyer “accidentally” sends an earnest money check for a much larger amount than necessary. Once the check is deposited, the buyer asks for the excess to be wired back. The check often looks legitimate, even to seasoned bankers, and it might not be caught until way down the line, after the money has been wired to the now-vanished buyer.

To get all the details, take a look at this extremely thorough blog post—and particularly the comments, where many of the names used by the potential fraudsters are posted. Make note of the thorough and precise nature of the scam and how far they take it, even down to using paper that formerly belonged to Chase Bank.

This scam has been around for a few years now, but lately it seems to have ramped up, with “buyers” supposedly coming from across the globe, from England to Canada to China. As always, it’s a good idea to be suspicious of something that’s too good to be true, but there ARE legitimate foreign buyers out there who are interested in property in the Hampton Roads area. Knowing this, take this information and use it as an additional evaluation tool when vetting a potential buyer from out of the country.

About Mary Elizabeth Allen

Mary Elizabeth Allen is the Marketing Director for The Real Estate Group and oversees the brokerage's marketing and social media efforts. She has worked for nearly two decades in the marketing industry and has also been involved in real estate for five years. A passion for branding is driven by her work on such well-known brands as STAR WARS, Dungeons & Dragons, and Capital One. Since 2007, she's been immersed in real estate, gaining perspective on the industry by working on the association side, consulting with nationally-known real estate trainers, and getting the view from the brokerage side.