Don’t let slow business lead to a scam

IDK about other inspectors but I have only had 1 inspection in the past 2 months. As a result I almost fell for this scam. I included my inquiries with this person for you all to see. There are several red flags that I ignored at first… never again.

My message to InterNACHI: “I received a request for an inspection via text. I have received legitimate requests this way in the past but this one is different. After booking, I contacted the listing agent who said this is a new listing with no seller or buyer agreements, or prospective buyers at the table. This is a scam!”

Here are the original texts:
+1 (601) 316-3457:
Hi, I’m Andre I would like to know if you are available to inspect my house 14th of November around Mesa

Paul Jacobs:
Hi Andre. I’ll need more information to give a quote; address and sq feet of the home. Or you can go to pjhomeinspect.com and fill in the request form.
Thanks,
PJ

+1 (601) 316-3457:
Okay thank you! House Address is: 4 bd3 ba1,872 sqft
7708 E Inverness Ave, Mesa, AZ 85209 Lots! You can go through this and get back to me with the estimate on the home inspection. The Mold testing Inspector will take care of other inspections at the house the same day of your inspection!

Paul Jacobs:
I can do this inspection for $375.00 (1872 sq ft + built before 1982).
Question, is there an addition to this property? Any other structures?
Also, can you provide an email for the quote?
Thx,
PJ

+1 (601) 316-3457:
Ok, the price is fair enough! I will provide access on the date scheduled, and I will make sure all utilities are on, just give me a call before heading to the location, also let me know if the 14th works for the inspection that was the date scheduled with the Mold testing inspector as well time 9:30 am let me know if the timing works perfect with you as well? And I will be paying you through a certified bank check.

Paul Jacobs:
Sounds good but the check will need to clear prior to the morning of the inspection. I’ll send you an agreement to sign and payment information.
PJ

I will need your last name and email address for the agreement please.

+1 (601) 316-3457:
My email is andrehillov19@gmail.com and my name is Andre Hill. I will process the payment to you today, so you can have the payment on time as I won’t be present for the inspection due to my work. Just text me your name and your preferable address to receive the check and forward the inspection agreement to my email! Thank you

Paul Jacobs:
Address check to:
PJ Home Inspection Services LLC
2824 N Power Rd #113-438
Mesa, AZ 85215

I sent the agreement to your email.

Thank you again for choosing PJ and I will contact you upon arrival on 11-14 at 8am

+1 (601) 316-3457:
Thanks I got your Information… I will keep you posted with the Tracking #.
Please note the check payment will Include the mold Inspector fee, I will need your assistant paying them for me.
The mold Inspectors said their payment can only be received via zelle or cash app and I don’t have those apps, I will be adding extra $50 for your Inconvenience… Thanks for your Understanding.

Paul Jacobs:
I cannot handle payment for other services.

I just verified with the listing agent there are no contracts for either seller or any buyer. I will not be doing this inspection or dealing with you. Thank you, PJ

Have them spend the $25.00-$30.00 to overnight you a check. One you receive it, tell them there was a problem with it and that they will need to send you another. Once they figure out that you are on to them, they will leave you alone.

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Love that idea. Wish I thought of it before blocking them.

I got the exact same one from the same person. This is a scam that comes around often enough and is fairly easy to notice as a scam right off. I’ll be playing along for awhile just to waste his time. Last one I did, I got a total of 50 replies from him over the course of a week. He sent his check and I got his PayPal account and everything.

Variations of this scam have been going on for years.

Though at least this scammer had a more plausible story than most.

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I think every scam I have seen or heard of like this is done via Texting. In our company we do not accept orders via text, we only take them via email, through our website or over the phone. For some reason this tends to stop scams like this. Do not be so hungry for business that you let your guard down. If a text comes in for an inspection, simply reply for them to contact on the phone or email. It works!

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Thanks for the confirmation.

Yep. I questioned him in my mind but was hoping for the best. Never again.

I plan to do just that. Thank you for the response.

Silly

I would have stuck with him playing along. Make the appointment and let his stooge mold inspector show up and you not be there. Then, make up an excuse to have the mold inspector meet you at a nearby location, once again you don’t show. Just keep at it until he gives up.

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There isn’t an actual mold inspector. He sends a bogus check and wants us to deposit it and PayPal his mold inspector (him) before the check proves to be bad.

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I know, but I’ve always wanted to know if someone (scammer) actually shows trying to get paid. I guess not if the house is bogus.

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I’d love to find a way to turn it on them, more than just wasting their time.

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This is the first thing I do when I smell a rat. It’s also courteous to let them know their listing is being used as part of a scam.

The telltale signs are them giving a first name upfront in a text (has anyone ever had a non-scam person do this at first contact?) and having some reason they can’t attend (often surgery). Also, they start mentioning “other contractors” or similar. These really aren’t difficult to spot early on once you’ve seen a couple.

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My current one isn’t even on the market.

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Got same text from this number

This guy or gal was better than most… The scam usually involves texting (from a phone that does not have their name attached), a bank check from someplace far away that WILL bounce, and online payment from you to some legit-looking account that WILL NOT bounce. LOL.

Check with the listing agent or owner to verify there is a signed offer (contract/agreement).

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I received the same story almost word for word, different person and phone number though. I scheduled it but never received the check. The day before I tried to confirm with the person and did not get any reply, THEN I started to question, who was the mold company, who was their agent, called the listing agent and they confirmer they did not have any contract nor did they have any contact with the person. I cancelled the inspection.

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Amazing they never seem to change their scam tactics. We had the same thing about a year ago. Quoted inspection for about $500 or so, then we received a check for $3,500 after we advised several times we only do ACH or CC, then received communication they sent the wrong check which was supposed to go to the moving company. Then, they asked we deduct the inspection fee and send the rest to the moving company. We promptly deposit the check in the trash.

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Here’s one that just came through this morning… yeah, this looks legit LOL :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

It is interesting to see the information they use. I suspect they get it from my signature here in InterNACHI as that’s really the only place all this info is in one place. I’m thinking it’s something automated rather than a person typing it all in. My multiple phone numbers and areas seems to trip them up. They use my Maui phone number to text but ask about a house in Oregon using my town as the street name.

Edit - I now realize my actual city of business from Oregon (West Linn) isn’t in my signature so they must be pulling info from somewhere else too. The Hawaii # and Oregon address thing is odd.