Jeff MacKinnon

Honest, hard working and thorough

Never, ever email your realtor money

On Monday news came out of Nova Scotia that a home seller was scammed out of a few thousand dollars by someone who appeared to be their realtor.

An email told them to e-transfer some money to be held in trust pending a home inspection. After the money was accepted the client called the realtor only to find out the realtor hadn't asked for any money. The realtor's emailed was hacked.

If you haven't bought a property before or haven't in eons, you should know that there is no reason for your realtor to ask you for money. If you are providing a deposit on a new home, the bank draft or certified cheque is made out to the selling realtor's brokerage and it is held in trust. Say, for example, you buy a property that I've listed the draft is made out to Maxwell Canyon Creek. Your realtor comes and picks up the money from you and delivers it to my office and you get a stamped copy of the cheque so you know it's there. You can deliver it yourself if you wish.

No cash. No e-transfer. Nothing.

Home buyers do pay for their own home inspection but it's done on site immediately after the inspection is completed. The realtor isn't involved.

So, if you get an email from your realtor asking for money just ignore it.  Like any email asking for money, right?

The only variation of this is if you are not in the immediate area and it can't be delivered in person. In that case, the selling brokerage provides your realtor with their bank's information. You go to your bank, send a wire transfer and it goes into the selling brokerage's trust account from there.

Tacked on the bottom of the Canadian Press story I read about this case is the following message:

If you or a family member has fallen victim to this fraud, please report to your local police service, as well as to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Contact the anti-fraud centre by phone at 1-888-495-8501 or online at www.antifraudcentre.ca.

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