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Daily Real Estate News  |  December 4, 2008  |   Treasury Alerts REALTORS® to Fraud Scheme
If a buyer tries to use a "personal promissory note" or "private offset bond" to buy a home, the matter might be an attempt at fraud and you should let the U.S. Treasury Department know, a notice from the Treasury's Office of Inspector General says.

Here's the notice in full, with contact information:

SUBJECT: Fraud Alert

The U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Inspector General (OIG), is investigating incidences whereby individuals are using fraudulent promissory notes and bonds to attempt to purchase vehicles and real estate. The OIG has been notified of numerous occurrences throughout the United States where fraudulent documents were used to attempt to purchase vehicles. Treasury OIG has also been made aware of incidents in Arizona and Colorado where similar fraudulent documents were used to attempt to purchase homes and an office building.

The fraudulent documents are not referenced as “U.S. Treasury” bonds or promissory notes. They are referenced as “personal promissory note” and “private offset bond;” however, they have the name of Henry Paulson, Secretary, U.S. Treasury, on the face of the documents.

Treasury OIG has learned that the only type of hard-copy bond issued by the U.S. Treasury that a citizen can purchase today is a savings bond. All other bonds are electronic and the buyer would not receive a hard-copy document. Finally, Paulson’s name should not appear on any document listed as a private bond or promissory note since these items are not backed or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury.

If you have any information regarding this type of fraudulent activity, we request that you contact the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Inspector General (OIG), Office of Investigations Hotline, at 800/359-3898 or e-mail REALTORS® approached by a person giving these or similar circumstances should consider the potential for fraud. Should you suspect fraudulent activity, it is recommended that you contact the OIG Hotline and your local law enforcement agency immediately. Additional information regarding this and other similar fraud schemes can be found at
the following Department of Treasury Web site:

Source: REALTOR® Magazine Online

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