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I received a poorly composed email from someone calling himself Dr. Ralph Baldwin. He requested a quote on a home inspection and wrote that he had impaired hearing and couldn't call me. I was suspicious but I responded that I needed details on the house. He wrote back with the address and expressed confidence that I was the right Seattle home inspector that could do the job.

I looked up the address and the house was listed for sale. It also was located less than two miles from my house. I responded again with a quote and posed more questions.

Then the scam kicked in. He wrote that he couldn't be at the inspection and wanted me to pay $1,200 still owing to the seller by credit card. He was to forward me the money, plus my inspection fee, plus a $100 tip.

I know email scams are ubiquitous, my this one stood out because it was personally directed. He took the time to look up a listing located near my home. The finish was poorly executed and I'm sure none of you would fall for it. Ours may be an industry that he and others in some far-off land are trying to exploit.

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