Interesting new scam?

I got a piece of mail today. That’s snail mail, in my mail box, delivered by USPS. It was address to me as [First Initial Middle Initial Last name] and [Address] in that ‘script font’ that looks like handwriting. No return address. My initial response was to toss it but I opened it instead.

There’s a pretty simple letter inside I’ll quote the entirety of it (I assume it isn’t copyrighted).

The letter is then ‘signed’ with a [name], signed as in cursive font printout

I Googled the phone number which led me to a person in my hometown, but not the same person that ‘signed’ the letter. give a listing for the number, but it doesn’t give me any information without paying.

The local Online Parcel Information System doesn’t have a listing for that name or address, but the address is probably for a local apartment complex.

Anyway, the only reason it intrigued me so much is that I am interested in selling my house in about 6 months, and I don’t think this is a home an 80 year old would want to buy, although the neighborhood is filled with older people, who buys a house at 80years old and claims not to be an investor?

How should I proceed? I can toss it in the garbage or call the number on the letter. I think I might call the number and ask for [Google Name] (not the name from the letter). Then confront the dude on what the scam is. Is there anything illegal about sending such a letter? Can I report him to a better business bureau or local law enforcement or something?

You appraise your house as being worth $150,000. My appraiser says it’s worth $15,000. Add those two together, divide by two, subtract 3%, and my but that’s a colossal ripoff. An exaggeration, of course.

If you want to sell your house, find a reputable realtor in your area to sell it for you. If you want to buy a house, find a reputable realtor to find one for you.

I’d say your instincts are correct and it’s probably a scam. My guess is that they would use a bogus appraiser to drive down the price. You know who investigates these types of things? The FBI (white collar crime divison).

If I was you, and I felt particularly helpful / ornery, I would contact your local FBI office (available through that link) and tell them about the letter you got.

Yes, obviously I’m not going to sell my house to this clown. I was mostly wondering if anyone had seen this scam before.

Doctor Who, I am feeling kind of ornery having worked all night long. I think I’ll report him, then call him to tell him I reported him. Of course, there’s probably nothing illegal with proposing this kind of thing. You’d have to be pretty stupid to sign some sort of contract before the appraisals, etc.

Maybe you could find an equally corrupt appraiser and get your house appraised at $5,000,000. ($5,000,000 + $0)/2 - 3% = $2.45 Million. It would be amusing if you had a simultaneous appraisal revealing.

Interesting strategy. The letter doesn’t say that I have to get an appraiser at all. I can just state my price.

So… $5million sounds good to me.

I’m a real estate agent (commercial not residential), but I really have a difficult time thinking that a pair of octogenarians are so wound up about wanting to bypass a RE agent that they would use a mass marketing campaign like this. Typically 80 year olds are the ones who might need an agent’s services the most.

I suspect it’s an information gathering scheme for predatory investors or lenders of some kind. In addition a lot of these “get rich quick in RE” schemes are parallel to this type of marketing, where you are looking to find desperate sellers willing to sell at a loss.

Try for an initial search. The first tier search is free.