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Off topic: Can you sell a house by e-mail?
Thread poster: CristinaPereira

CristinaPereira  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:44
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Aug 16, 2006

Hi everyone,

I have an apartment for sale here in Portugal. I just received an email from someone claiming to be from England, saying he saw an ad about the apartment and asking for info such as price, pictures, etc. I answered giving him this info.

He answered promptly:

"I am ok with the price of purchasing the property for 105 000
euros but i do want you to understand that i would be
paying a deposit of 15000 euros and when my agent comes to
your location he would be paying the rest of the money in
cash ,if this is ok by you , do let ,me know . "

I then asked if he had a contact with a real estate agency here in Portugal, as the transaction involves documents, notaries, etc. His last mail was:

"dont worry i have that take care of by my agent .

Thanks for the mail .
I do want you to understand that i have agreed with
the price of purchasing the property for 105 000 EUR but i would be
paying a deposit of 15 000 euros which is ok by you.
I want you to know that i got in contact with my
associate in the france before travelling to the USA,who
owes me
the sum of 20,600 euros which he as agreed to send a cheque
OF 20600 euros to you .
I would need your full name , contact address and
phone no ,so that the cheque can be sent to your
address.As soon as you recieved the cheque:
1)You would then have the cheque of(20,600 euros )
cashed,
2)collect how much i BOUGHT IT for 10000 EUR as deposit
3)And have the rest of the money sent to my agent
through western union money transfer so that he
can come to your location TO CONCLUDE THE TRANSACTION
and for the shippment of the property
I read from you, with your contact details for the
cheque to be sent to you".


He seems to want to send me the money right away and doesn't ask for any warranty! I am really suspicious, but then, I never sold (or bought) a house out of my country.

Do you think I should take this seriously or just forget the whole thing?

Another detail: he has a Portuguese name and I asked if he was Portuguese. He didn't answer and kept writing in English...

Thank you very much for any advice.

Cristina


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CathyFS  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:44
German to English
+ ...
Sounds dodgy to me! Aug 16, 2006

I can't imagine that this is anything other than a scam. One section alone has a couple of basic errors that indicate he's NOT English:

"I want you to know that i got in contact with my
associate in the france before travelling to the USA,who
owes me
the sum of 20,600 euros which he as agreed to send a cheque
OF 20600 euros to you . "

the france?
which he as agreed to send a cheque OF 20600 euros to you?

I wouldn't touch this guy with a barge pole. If the apt is for sale, doesn't he know the address already ... ? I don't know ... sounds to me like someone wants to use your address for laundering drug money, or something to that effect.

Cathy


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Pernille Chapman  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:44
Member (2004)
English to Danish
+ ...
Stay well clear! Aug 16, 2006

Sorry, but this has all the hallmarks of being yet another e-mail scam - although I must say it's a variety I haven't heard of before!

For a start, this person is definitely not a native Brit, as there are lots of serious grammatical errors in his message. Also, the talk of exchanging cheques based on so little communication should set alarm bells ringing. Why would he want to involve you in cashing the cheque from his 'associate', and why the mad rush? And I bet his email address is with hotmail, yahoo or some other 'anonymous' provider...

I imagine you have an agent yourself, or a solicitor you could ask for advice? In any case, I really don't think you should enter into any further communication until you have found a way of checking this person's credentials.


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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 00:44
French to English
+ ...
It's a scam! Aug 16, 2006

Don't have anything to do with this.

The 206,000 Euro check will appear to have cleared, you give them 100,000, and then the check bounces. You loose your 100,000.

Tell them you want the money in cash or a bank-draft and they will disappear quickly. Or just ignore them.

Terry.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:44
German to English
+ ...
This is a scam Aug 16, 2006

The crook sends you a cheque for 20,600 euros.

You cash the crook's cheque, keep 10,000 euros, and send the rest (10,600 euros) to the crook's "agent", as requested.

The crook's cheque then bounces, and your bank demands 20,600 euros back, but you have already sent 10,600 euros of that to the crook's accomplice, who by then has disappeared.

The scam is quite common.

Marc


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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:44
German to English
+ ...
Does he want you to send him money? Aug 16, 2006

If I understand the letter you quote (which is in imperfect English), he wants to send you a cheque for an amount that is too high for the deposit, and he wants you to send the excess amount to somebody by Western Union.

This is often a method used in scams.
Your bank pays you the amount of the cheque in good faith, you send out the excess amount, but after a couple of weeks your bank comes back to you and says sorry, the cheque bounced after all (it takes them a while to be absolutely sure). So you lose the amount that you sent him (over 5000 euros, if I understand the letter correctly).
Your police might think that a cheque for that amount is suspicious (money laundering rules etc.). And if the cash transaction goes through, that could be even trickier.

Perhaps it would be worthwhile consulting a solicitor or notary, and perhaps you could even get them to handle the transaction. The person may possibly be above board, but you need to protect yourself.


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CristinaPereira  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:44
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Great advice! Aug 16, 2006

Thank you everyone for confirming my thoughts! Yes, he has a yahoo e-mail. I think I'll tell him I just sold the apartment today

He didn't say he was English, but just "Carl, from England", as he seems to be so travelled, namely in "the France"...

Thanks again all,

Cristina


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Thomas Dihrberg  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:44
Member
Spanish to German
+ ...
Happens quite often Aug 16, 2006

Hi Cristina,

I am quite sure, that you put an ad in local newspaper with internet section where it was published as well. In Spain we have i.e. www.segundamano.es, which is the internet issue from the paper version.
When I published my BMW bike (which is still in sale...) I got several times e-mails, very similar to yours.
Just cancel them and never answer, even if the offer looks great.
saludos Tom


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CristinaPereira  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:44
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
True Aug 16, 2006

Thank you for sharing your experience, Tom. I did precisely what you said, and posted another ad in a classifieds site, too.

So, it's a common scam...

Anyway, this might be my lucky day because a woman visited the apartment today and she wants to come back tomorrow to show it to her husband And she didn't mention anything about cheques, transfers, and associates abroad

Thanks all, again!

Cristina


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
House for Rent Aug 17, 2006

I just got one of those on a house I have for rent. I won't bore anyone with details, but it's no less than the old Nigerian scam revisited, fractured English and all.

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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 00:44
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
sit back and read this 419 horror story Aug 17, 2006

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060515fa_fact

and if it's too much, visit ... hmmm ... what about...

http://www.419eater.com/


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Nizamettin Yigit  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:44
Dutch to Turkish
+ ...
Absolutely Scam Aug 17, 2006

Hi,

The person who you are communicating is informed of the following:

- existance of Western Union.
- writing a check or clearing a check
- sending money via bank

How could he not know the best option to have his friend do the same thing for him and than he can, assume that he is a true buyer, use one of the already mentioned method to send money and pay you.

If I were to buy a house from a place which could be 500 kilometer away I have to have someone representing me at the initial step with a signed documentation which is called "power of attorney".

If I were you, I would not provide any personal information until I see a legal rep or money in my account, becaue you may end up in a financial fraud!!

Good luck

Nizam


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Nizamettin Yigit  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:44
Dutch to Turkish
+ ...
Yes Aug 17, 2006

Hi,

After sending a reminder I just wanted to answer the main question:
Can you sell a house by e-mail?

My answer is YES!
But this happens if;

- a house
- a true buyer or legal representative of buyer
- finaincial item (credit, cash, good or property to exchange etc)

If one of these items are not there you can not. In your case you dont have second and third item which I believe the third one is the whole thing

You may want to check ebay from following link. You wil see more than 2 K of on sale property.

http://realestate.listings.ebay.com/_Residential_W0QQa15ZQ2d24QQa16ZQ2d24QQa20ZQ2d24QQa9ZQ2d24QQalistZa9Q2ca10Q2ca20Q2ca15Q2ca16QQbasicformnameZforminputQQcobrandidZ1QQcombineZNQQcurcatZtrueQQfsopZ1QQftsZQQgcsZ9QQhiZQQloZQQmodeZdefaultQQpfidZ10QQreqtypeZ1QQsacatZ12605QQsatitleZQQsocmdZListingItemList

After al you may want to put it there as "for sale" even you can say "for sale by owner".

Good luck

Nizam


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CristinaPereira  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:44
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Terrifying Aug 18, 2006

“You have to trust somebody at times like this”, she said...

You really do, Vito, and I trust you and everybody else who helped me through this whole thing. I always heard about "Nigerian scams", but never knew why they were called that. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge.

As to Nizam, even if a house can be sold by e-mail, I will never attempt to do such a thing. So, thanks for your positive/negative answer

Good luck to all,

Cristina

PS - I stopped answering the guy and he stopped sending me e-mails, just for the record.


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