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Imposter Sellers Trying to Trick Listing Agents – Real Estate Scam

imposter seller

A month ago…

I got an email from Aaron Ramson (False name to protect the real owner’s identity). Aaron went on to say that he wanted to sell his property a vacant piece of land in Koloa. Like any real estate agent, I was excited about a new listing lead. I immediately looked up the property and Aaron Ramson did in fact own a piece of land in Koloa. And in a neighborhood that I really like and drive past regularly.

A few red flags…

In Aarons’s email, I noticed a few “red flags”. The first was that his email was written with a slight African dialect. Like how scammers from that area speak extremely properly.

Saying things like… “Good day I hope this email finds you well.”

“Kindly get back to me if you are disposed to assisting.”

He bluntly said that he is currently in South Africa. So I thought maybe he had picked up the South African lingo of speaking really property.

The second thing I saw was really a red flag. When signing his email he had his name as Ramson Aaron and even referred to himself as Ramson instead of Aaron. Which I thought was odd. Aaron is a very common first name and Ramson is not.

In our tax records last names as usually listed first. So on their names are written as Ramson, Aaron. And mine is written as Caspillo, Kela Joelle (Last, First, Middle). Then I thought shucks he is a scammer and he probably thought when reading the tax records that “Ramson” is the first name and “Aaron” the last name.

But I had to make sure…

I didn’t want to miss out on this listing if this was the real thing!

The first thing I did to make sure was asking if I could help him with anything else? I was waiting for him to ask me to send him gift cards.

He responded by saying he wanted an estimate of his property’s value.

I gave him an estimate of $750,000 and he said he trusts my opinion and it ended with let’s list the property. I even decided to ask if his first name was Aaron or Ramson. He said his first name was Aaron but still signed his emails with Ramson at the end.

Investigation time…

I grew up watching the Xfiles and murdered mysteries from a very young age thanks to my Mom. So investigating is second nature to me. I saw that the real Aaron Ramson owned a tech company. I called the tech company and explained my situation and asked a few questions. Including if Aaron was in South Africa right now. To no surprise, they didn’t think he was in South Africa.

A few days later another real estate agent on Kauai called me and said she knew the real Aaron Ramson. He was curious about what was going on and wanted her to get more details from me. This real estate agent is a personal friend of his. He was concerned about identity theft.

All of the information the scammer gave me was public information.  I got my triple confirmation this guy was a scammer!

real estate scam

What did this scammer want?

The scammer was encouraging me to go along with the process of listing his property. My theory is that he wanted me to list the property and once we found a buyer an escrow account would be opened. Somehow from there they scam and send over money then try to get more money sent back to them. Or something along those lines. I’m sure his goal was to open an escrow account.

I can only speculate at this point because of course I didn’t actually list the property for sale.


A smarter scammer could have gotten further…

Real estate agents don’t usually check identification before listing a property. The scammer was smart to go with vacant land because with a home someone most likely lives there and would have figured it out.

It is also very common in today’s day and age for someone to email us as the scammer did and request to list their property for sale. We have had a few sellers lately who prefer to do mainly email communication.

This scammer was pretty smart and this was the first time I experienced or heard of a real estate scam like this.


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