We know of at least one instance in which a buyer was solicited by an individual posing as a representative of a reputable bank. The impersonator collected the personal information from the buyers and subsequently provided them with what appeared to be a legitimate pre-approval letter. The buyers received an accepted offer from a seller and began the escrow process. When the matter of good faith deposit came up, the buyers notified their agent that funds in the amount of $15k had already been wired to the “lender” to an account based in Southern California. The “lender” had insisted it was customary for them to retain the good faith deposit, directly, as a means of making sure any missed payments could be drawn from that account.
Please make sure your clients and all parties involved in a transaction are fully aware of who, specifically, they are dealing with (Broker, lender, title etc.) and how the process of a real estate transaction typically unfolds.
Please let us know if you see or hear of anything suspicious as we continue to coordinate directly with the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office on these matters.