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We received this email from our good friends Neville and Elizabeth Gay and felt it important enough to reproduce here. Please be wary of property buyers who have not come from a reputable source.

We have advertised our property on your web site (French Property News)and received a warning from your web master of a possible scam. This is to advise you that this scam is still ongoing and that we have been approached. Fortunately having been for warned by your webmaster we were prepared for it.

It takes the form of a Monsieur Pirés phoning to say that he has an investment company and he may have a client interested in buying our property as an investment. Would we please send him some more photographs. This we did by e-mail suspecting it to be the scam. Some eight or so hours later he phones to say that his client is 90% interested and proposed to pay our price but with 10% going "under the table" some 20% or 30% in sterling and the rest in Swiss Francs. When pressed to pay the balance in Euros he readily agrees. We then said that the contract would have to be signed in front of our Notaire in Lalinde this he said would be entirely satisfactory but two weeks after we had met his client in Barcelona at a hotel where we would agree the final terms of the contract. Unfortunately his client could not leave Barcelona for six weeks where he was engaged in some bigger contracts than ours. Oh yes, by the way, there would be no problem with our staying in the property until July.

The factors which made us suspicious at the beginning were that he wouldn't give us an address but asked to have the photos sent by e-mail to a Yahoo e-mail and he always operated from a French mobile phone number, he couldn't give us the number for a fixed phone. He spoke poor English with a Spanish accent, not French. We suspected that he was operating from the Franco/Spanish border using an 06 phone number.

We remembered the warning from FPN that the next step is to arrange a meeting in Barcelona which this Monsieur Pirés suggested would be at a hotel but he made no mention of the deposit we would be asked to pay to secure the contract. I asked what security his client would have during the two week period before we met at the Notaire's but he side-stepped the question.

This scam must be given the maximum of publicity to avoid anyone else falling into the possible trap. We are grateful that the French Property News at least gave us the tip-off that it could happen.

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