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Old 22.10.2020, 01:04
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Scam warning: pro-ibis.com

Was getting very excited about a property that popped up on homegate. We responded to the homegate add and got an email from the "owner" saying they had too many responses and were employing a real estate agent to do the sale.

We started a communication with the real estate company and being blinded by the good offer started going through their process. They offered an exclusive viewing but you needed to make an "earnest money deposit". Long story short the whole thing is a scam trying to steal your money.

The old adage of "if it is too good to be true, it probably is" should have set my warning bells ringing straight away. Hope this helps anyone else googling the company name.

Quite slick though - they are using legitimate real estate portal software and have a valid SSL certificate. Checking the domain shows it being registered on 2020-10-13.

--copy of one of the emails. Hopefully if anyone else googles them this will come up
https://pro-ibis.com/

The property can be reserved in your name for a private visit; you further have the step-by-step description of the manner of scheduling a visit:

* In order to start the procedure, we will need the following details from you:

# Your complete name:
# Complete address:
# Telephone number:
# Fax number (if available):
* The next step is filling in a pre-contract for setting the private visit. I would mention that this contract shall not bind you by any means to purchase the property, only the terms of the transaction are specified in this document.

* You, as a potential purchaser, shall receive a notification containing a transaction identification number which shall give you access to the privatea area of the clients on our website.

* In your private area, you shall have access to all the details of your transaction, as well as the pre-contract signed and stamped by us.

* At this point, you, as potential purchaser, with an exclusive purchasing right, shall have to constitute an earnest money deposit at our agency, within maximum 72 hours from generating the contract. The payment must be made by bank transfer to one of the agency's trust accounts.
The total value of the earnest money deposit has been set to 1,2% of the total purchasing price, i.e. CHF 30'900.- ( € 28.800 on our website ). Please note that the earnest money deposit is a deposit meant to prove your interest in purchasing the property, and should not be mistaken for a down payment for purchasing the property.
* After initiating the transfer, you shall have to send the scanned document from the bank to our agency, together with the contract signed by you.

* After your payment is confirmed in one of our bank accounts (it usually does not exceed 2 working days), the visit shall be set, and I, as an agent in charge of your transaction, shall be delegated to organize the visit. I mention that I shall be accompanied by a legal representative of the owner. During the private visit, you can check all the property-related aspects, including the accompanying juridical documents.

After visiting the property, there shall be 2 possible situations:

1) In case you decide not to purchase the property, the earnest money deposit shall be reimbursed into your bank account on the same day you visit the property. In this case, the pre-contract shall become null&void. All fees for our services are entirely paid for by the owner.
2) If you decide to buy the property, all the documents shall be signed in the presence of a local notary, and we shall authorize the release of the earnest money deposit to the owner, as a down payment for purchasing the property. They shall also set a certain deadline within which you shall have to pay for the rest of the amount in order to cover the entire price of the property. In this case, you will pay the notary fees; the fees for our services are completely paid for by the landlord who has hired us.

Thank you for your understanding. Please send me the requested details only if all the aspects above are completely understood.

Best regards,

Amelia Johnson,
International Real Estate Agent

Amelia.Johnson@pro-ibis.com
http://www.pro-ibis.com

Payment Account
HSBC UK BANK PLC
Holder: Pro Ibis Estate Inc.
IBAN: GB72 HBUK 4009 0038 0511 43
Swift BIC: HBUKGB4BXXX

Contact Us
Headquarters: 7 Pembridge Pl, London, United Kingdom Office Spain: 25 Calle de Nunez de Balboa, Madrid Office Netherlands: 21 Veerstraat, Amsterdam Office Poland: 56 Nowogrodzka, Warsaw
Phone: +44 20 8133 9007
Fax: +44 20 8133 9008
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  #2  
Old 22.10.2020, 01:11
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Re: Scam warning: pro-ibis.com

thanks that's very helpful. those too good to be true house ads really can set your heart a-racing tbh. cant imagine how bling the place must be to be a bargain at 3 million.

when i was buying a house, i had just started wondering out loud if i was really gonna live near the opera house when they asked me for some money up front.
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Old 22.10.2020, 01:15
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Re: Scam warning: pro-ibis.com

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Was getting very excited about a property that popped up on homegate. We responded to the homegate add and got an email from the "owner" saying they had too many responses and were employing a real estate agent to do the sale.

We started a communication with the real estate company and being blinded by the good offer started going through their process. They offered an exclusive viewing but you needed to make an "earnest money deposit". Long story short the whole thing is a scam trying to steal your money.

The old adage of "if it is too good to be true, it probably is" should have set my warning bells ringing straight away. Hope this helps anyone else googling the company name.

Quite slick though - they are using legitimate real estate portal software and have a valid SSL certificate. Checking the domain shows it being registered on 2020-10-13.

--copy of one of the emails. Hopefully if anyone else googles them this will come up
https://pro-ibis.com/

The property can be reserved in your name for a private visit; you further have the step-by-step description of the manner of scheduling a visit:

* In order to start the procedure, we will need the following details from you:

# Your complete name:
# Complete address:
# Telephone number:
# Fax number (if available):
* The next step is filling in a pre-contract for setting the private visit. I would mention that this contract shall not bind you by any means to purchase the property, only the terms of the transaction are specified in this document.

* You, as a potential purchaser, shall receive a notification containing a transaction identification number which shall give you access to the privatea area of the clients on our website.

* In your private area, you shall have access to all the details of your transaction, as well as the pre-contract signed and stamped by us.

* At this point, you, as potential purchaser, with an exclusive purchasing right, shall have to constitute an earnest money deposit at our agency, within maximum 72 hours from generating the contract. The payment must be made by bank transfer to one of the agency's trust accounts.
The total value of the earnest money deposit has been set to 1,2% of the total purchasing price, i.e. CHF 30'900.- ( € 28.800 on our website ). Please note that the earnest money deposit is a deposit meant to prove your interest in purchasing the property, and should not be mistaken for a down payment for purchasing the property.
* After initiating the transfer, you shall have to send the scanned document from the bank to our agency, together with the contract signed by you.

* After your payment is confirmed in one of our bank accounts (it usually does not exceed 2 working days), the visit shall be set, and I, as an agent in charge of your transaction, shall be delegated to organize the visit. I mention that I shall be accompanied by a legal representative of the owner. During the private visit, you can check all the property-related aspects, including the accompanying juridical documents.

After visiting the property, there shall be 2 possible situations:

1) In case you decide not to purchase the property, the earnest money deposit shall be reimbursed into your bank account on the same day you visit the property. In this case, the pre-contract shall become null&void. All fees for our services are entirely paid for by the owner.
2) If you decide to buy the property, all the documents shall be signed in the presence of a local notary, and we shall authorize the release of the earnest money deposit to the owner, as a down payment for purchasing the property. They shall also set a certain deadline within which you shall have to pay for the rest of the amount in order to cover the entire price of the property. In this case, you will pay the notary fees; the fees for our services are completely paid for by the landlord who has hired us.

Thank you for your understanding. Please send me the requested details only if all the aspects above are completely understood.

Best regards,

Amelia Johnson,
International Real Estate Agent

Amelia.Johnson@pro-ibis.com
http://www.pro-ibis.com

Payment Account
HSBC UK BANK PLC
Holder: Pro Ibis Estate Inc.
IBAN: GB72 HBUK 4009 0038 0511 43
Swift BIC: HBUKGB4BXXX

Contact Us
Headquarters: 7 Pembridge Pl, London, United Kingdom Office Spain: 25 Calle de Nunez de Balboa, Madrid Office Netherlands: 21 Veerstraat, Amsterdam Office Poland: 56 Nowogrodzka, Warsaw
Phone: +44 20 8133 9007
Fax: +44 20 8133 9008
Any upfront payment for viewing a property is a huge no go for me.

The only instance I had to keep a (safety) deposit was when I took a Tesla for a test drive without the owner and even that was for around 30 mins
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Old 22.10.2020, 02:16
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Re: Scam warning: pro-ibis.com

An other hint is when a website is plastered with houses marked "sold" and a link to "read more".
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Old 22.10.2020, 11:18
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Re: Scam warning: pro-ibis.com

The first couple of lines...

"* In order to start the procedure, we will need the following details from you:

# Your complete name:
# Complete address:"

just scream scam.

But please, you did report it to Homegate, didn't you? Some people might be duped by this.
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Old 22.10.2020, 11:42
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Re: Scam warning: pro-ibis.com

Very long story short : Nobody which is real and legit will charge you money, requests a deposit, or setups a contract for a viewing. Neither for a rental property nor real estate for sale.
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Old 22.10.2020, 12:51
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Re: Scam warning: pro-ibis.com

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The first couple of lines...

But please, you did report it to Homegate, didn't you? Some people might be duped by this.
Yep homegate is aware. Also submitted it to the swiss internet fraud website and notified the company that supplies the software they are using.
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Old 25.10.2020, 16:35
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Re: Scam warning: pro-ibis.com

The "overseas landlord using airbnb" scam has been around for awhile now. I also came across this a few times during my search for an apartment in Vaud. I would block the user as soon as they mentioned airbnb and no visits possible.

Here is an article from Forbes about it: https://www.forbes.com/sites/reneemo.../#40e86321670c
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Old 25.10.2020, 19:23
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Re: Scam warning: pro-ibis.com

Here's an identically worder About Us descriptin from a different company that has also been mentioned as a fraudulent entity:
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Old 26.10.2020, 15:55
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Re: Scam warning: pro-ibis.com

So I emailed the address you posted above - stating nothing more that I was interested in the property in Zurich (without stating which property, etc).

Got a nice response with details of a property, and that if I would want to arrange a viewing to pay a deposit...

Let's see how long I can string them on for...
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Old 26.10.2020, 16:07
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Re: Scam warning: pro-ibis.com

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So I emailed the address you posted above - stating nothing more that I was interested in the property in Zurich (without stating which property, etc).

Got a nice response with details of a property, and that if I would want to arrange a viewing to pay a deposit...

Let's see how long I can string them on for...
How high was the deposit they asked for?
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Old 26.10.2020, 16:44
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Re: Scam warning: pro-ibis.com

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How high was the deposit they asked for?
Interestingly, they assumed I wanted to buy a property. Deposit was set at 30,000 chuffs, by bank transfer.
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Old 26.10.2020, 16:57
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Re: Scam warning: pro-ibis.com

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Interestingly, they assumed I wanted to buy a property. Deposit was set at 30,000 chuffs, by bank transfer.
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Old 26.10.2020, 19:08
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Re: Scam warning: pro-ibis.com

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Interestingly, they assumed I wanted to buy a property. Deposit was set at 30,000 chuffs, by bank transfer.
Negotiate - tell them you can't afford that much but what would be acceptable. There's at least a few iterations possible.

And if "I can't afford it" doesn't make a real seller run away, nothing will.
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Old 26.10.2020, 20:18
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Re: Scam warning: pro-ibis.com

Can't wait for Tinder-members demanding remote marriage before the first blind date.
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Old 14.11.2020, 00:01
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Re: Scam warning: pro-ibis.com

When I read 'earnest'.... oh my! this is Nigerian English... and it looks so much like the Nigerian scam letters (there are some very sophisticated ones). So I guess they reached Switzerland also... thanks for the heads-up!

(nothing against Nigeria, obviously! I have lovely friends there)
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Old 14.11.2020, 08:59
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Re: Scam warning: pro-ibis.com

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When I read 'earnest'.... oh my! this is Nigerian English... and it looks so much like the Nigerian scam letters (there are some very sophisticated ones). So I guess they reached Switzerland also... thanks for the heads-up!

(nothing against Nigeria, obviously! I have lovely friends there)
Or, you could refer to https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/earnest-money.asp or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earnest_payment or https://www.forbes.com/advisor/mortgages/earnest-money/ or one of many other non-Nigerian english sites...
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Old 14.11.2020, 11:52
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Re: Scam warning: pro-ibis.com

No postcodes on the Head office addresses listed..big tell tale of a scam.
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Old 15.11.2020, 04:53
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Re: Scam warning: pro-ibis.com

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No postcodes on the Head office addresses listed..big tell tale of a scam.
I guess every Irish company was in on the scam until five years ago, then. That's when Ireland finally introduced postcodes. Plenty of people there still don't bother to use them (or can't remember them—it's a very complicated system whereby every address has its own, unique identifier).
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Old 17.11.2020, 12:39
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Re: Scam warning: pro-ibis.com

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Negotiate - tell them you can't afford that much but what would be acceptable. There's at least a few iterations possible.

And if "I can't afford it" doesn't make a real seller run away, nothing will.
So they replied... need to come up with an interesting response...

Quote:
We have decided in the above mentioned meeting to do the following: we will cover half of the value remaining to be paid for the earnest money deposit (15'450CHF) and the rest will have to be covered by you. In this situation we could keep the reservation as agreed. If you will not wish to proceed with the purchase, in your account will be refunded 15'450CHF, and the other half, meaning 15'450CHF will be refunded back into our agency's account.
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