Buyer loses $40,000 in Earnest Money Deposit Scam

scam alert

In March we reported that a wave of earnest money deposit scams had reappeared and warned brokers and buyers to be vigilant. Here in June, these same scams are still occurring, and the perpetrators are absconding with even larger deposits. 

This type of scam does not involve cybercrime, email phishing or identity theft. It’s an old-fashioned scam that appears to follow the same basic format.  An agent claims to have a listing for a short sale (or probate or other distressed property), but the property cannot be shown. After acceptance of an offer, the buyer makes an initial deposit usually in the $5,000 to $10,000 range, but as high as $40,000, into the listing broker’s non-independent broker escrow.

As with most short sale or probate properties, the process can take several months, and the buyer’s agent is assured that the listing agent is working towards lender approval – it is just taking more time.  Then the communication slows down, the selling agent begins to get concerned and calls the listing broker’s escrow.  There is no answer, no return call, no other number to contact, and the earnest money deposit is gone.

This scam is nearly the same as a series of scams that appeared in the Los Angeles area about two years ago. The Los Angeles County sheriff eventually arrested the wrongdoers but only after millions of dollars had been lost.

Originally Posted by California Association of Realtors

Discover Nevada State Parks

Nevada State Parks

Nevada residents and visitors are invited to “Discover Nevada State Parks” on Saturday, June 8. Park visitors will receive free day-use admission and free fishing (no license required) at all of Nevada’s State Parks.

This statewide event encourages Nevadans to discover the many exciting and affordable recreation opportunities right in their own backyards. “Nevada’s state parks offer a great diversity of outdoor opportunities,” said State Parks Administrator Robert Mergell. “For example, visitors can explore the slot canyons of Cathedral Gorge, tour a genuine ghost town at Berlin-Ichthyosaur or spend a relaxing afternoon fishing at Wild Horse.”

Discover Nevada State Parks Day is also an opportunity for visitors to take the passport challenge and add a stamp to their passport booklet, or if they don’t have one yet, to pick one up while visiting any state park. Once visitors have their passports stamped at 15 different parks, they earn a free annual day-use pass to all Nevada State Parks.

For more information on the Nevada State Parks Passport Booklet, or to find a list of state parks, please visit parks.nv.gov.

Ski Season Isn’t Over


Heavenly Mountain Resort will continue Friday-through-Sunday operations until Memorial Day, reported 8 inches of new snow in 48 hours Friday morning. Squaw Valley which plans to move to weekend-only operations after Memorial Day, reported 18 inches in 48 hours Friday morning.

Mortgage Rates

Mortgage News Update

While signals from the financial markets are flashing caution signs, the real economy remains on solid ground.  The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.07 percent with an average 0.50 point fee for the week ending May 16, 2019, down from last week when it averaged 4.10 percent.  A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.61 percent.

1226 Carson Ave., Lake Tahoe 96150

1226-Carson-Ave-for sale

Located in the southern sector of Tahoe Sierra, Lot 15 is partially wooded, a level lot with an 840 IPES; 30% Base Allowable Coverage. The neighborhood is centrally located near shops, grocery and beaches. Drive-by anytime or call for additional details. Note during the winter snow days, Carson Avenue is typically the first street to be plowed due to its location on the bus route.  Contact Robert Stiles for more information. Price recently reduced to $55,000.

1664 Apache Ave., Lake Tahoe 96150

1664 Apache Ave 96150

Beautiful three bedroom two bath Tahoe home comes with spacious livable loft used as additional sleeping quarters. Nestled in the Pines as if you were in a tree fort, this home has beautiful wooded views throughout as there are many windows… and not too many neighbors. It also comes with a new gourmet kitchen, carpet, bamboo flooring, gas fire place and a new roof. There is a beautiful balcony to barbecue on while enjoying nature in the yard. This house is only a three minute walk to some of the best hiking/biking trails that allow you a view of the lake once you get to the top. In addition to that Heavenly Resort is only 15 minutes away. The home is a turnkey vacation rental operation, and a perfect vacation home as it is being sold fully furnished. During the winter months streets here are plowed on a regular basis too. Easy to show contact Robert Stiles for an appointment today.  Chase International DRE# 01279125