SCAM ALERT: CBI protects business owners from active scam scheme

By: Connor Grimes, CBI Central Arkansas Managing Partner

One of the many things that separates CBI TEAM intermediaries from competitors is that not once did one of our team members show up at a first time listing meeting with an engagement agreement in hand, ready to put the business on the market. We show up with a list of questions to ask potential sellers before we do anything.  This is a relationship business. We want to get to know our sellers on a personal level and then learn about their business.

One of the jobs of a CBI professional intermediary is to go above and beyond in protecting our sellers; not just their confidentiality, but also protect them from any scams artists looking to take advantage of a business owner trying to sell. 

Over Valentine’s Weekend, I received a phone call from a “buyer” from Pennsylvania on a business that we have listed. This buyer spoke of a large cash down payment, a quick close and buying the stock of the company, rather than the assets.  He mentioned having financing in place and was anxious to “move forward” on the deal. I have been helping people sell and buy privately owned businesses for over fifteen years and immediately saw red flags. 

Some years ago, there were scam artists trolling the internet listings and attempting to “purchase” the stock of companies all over the United States. They spoke about the same things; quick close, large down payment, buying the stock, financing, etc. These criminals would convince business brokers and business owners that they were the “real deal” by telling the brokers they could make a quick commission and they did this successfully numerous times.

At closing, the “buyer” would make some excuse as to why the down payment money had not hit the bank account yet and then convince the seller and broker to proceed with the closing with the promise that the money would hit the account in a matter of days. Sadly, sometimes it worked. The “buyer” then proceeded to empty out all bank accounts, accounts receivable, payroll and any other money they could get their hands on, sell assets  and then they disappeared. Needless to say, there were many lawsuits filed against the “buyer” as well as sellers suing their brokers for not having properly done their job.

Through the conversation with the potential “buyer” over Valentine’s Weekend, I asked enough questions that the “buyer” eventually figured out he wasn’t going to be able to pull a fast one on our client.  I requested enough information from him, information that any other buyer would be more than willing to share, that he eventually knew we were on to his scheme and he decided to look elsewhere for someone to scam.

A business is likely the largest asset a person will ever have. When you list your business with the CBI+Team, you can rest well knowing that we are not looking for a quick payday. We are not going to take shortcuts. We are going to represent you in the most professional and proven methods available.  We are going to go the extra mile to protect you, our client.