Potential fraud?

I live in Montana and got a call from a New York number. The guy said his name was Jake and wanted a inspection done on a home he was under contract for, he agreed to the price and signed the inspection agreement…but when I looked the address up on Zillow it said the home was for rent, not sale. I contacted the owner of the property and she never heard of the Jake guy and that the home was already rented to a lady.
Any idea what that was about? What was Jake’s end game?

Scam. Walk away.


I did walk away, I just don’t understand the scam.

He was going to send you a check for much more than the cost of the inspection, then he was going to ask you to forward the balance to someone else like a mover or some such nonsense. The check is bad and if you forwarded the money as he asked then you are out that amount plus whatever your bank charges for a bounced check. Very old scam.


Jake from State Farm?
Maybe trying to sell you insurance. :rofl:


You did your due diligence which is required with out of state customers.

There are legitimate out of state customers, often investors or just people who are moving into you area.

However, I would have circled back around to him and determine his interest in the property and if the street address was a typo.

Final recommendation, out of state customers pay in advance with a credit card (only). No checks, no money orders or any other shenanigans.


That is what is unique about my area. Over 90% of my clients are from out of the state and the vast majority of those are from Florida. I always have at least 1 telephone conversation with them prior to anything moving forward regarding the agreement and inspection. I always ask if they are working with an agent and if so, who may that be. If it’s a FSBO, I ask for the sellers’ information so I can make contact and schedule the inspection. This also legitimizes the inspection inquiry.

I haven’t had the pleasure of a potential scam as of yet. When I do, it’s going to be fun.


Yeah, I pretty regularly get some version of this scam. It’s often all email and the, “buyer” claims to be in the hospital and not able to talk due to surgery (or some BS like that). Lately, since we are all aware of these scams they don’t usually offer the excess payment at first but get around to it later.

I just had one last week on a property that hit the market just hours before I was contacted. Apparently, the scammers have figured out that we are capable of looking up a property on Zillow to see it’s not for sale. I reached to the listing agent both to alert her that someone is using her listing as a scam and to be careful and to confirm what I already knew… that it’s a scam.


Next time you should look up the property BEFORE you go to all the trouble of contract …etc.

Sounds like an inspector checking your prices out and getting an idea of the inspection contract.

I agree, it was an excess funds scam. Did he set an inspection date with you? Likely the next step was a call about an emergency that caused a reschedule, but he’d pay you anyway. The check would be for too much money, but he’d compensate you for lettering the plumbers in — or whatever.

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Didn’t called back, scammers. They are using strategies used by wholesellers to transfer the title of the property. Some are legitimated. They put properties under contract for sell, as is. Call for buyers and told buyers that is not inspection period. Then if is a deal, the Buyer call for inspection and that is where the payment could be immediate or after the transaction closes. If the person who call is a savvy investor, he paid for that inspection ahead, to avoid surprises in transaction and get better deals.