The scam works when an “overseas buyer” contacts a real estate agent and puts an offer in on an expensive house for sale. The buyer says they don’t need to see the house before signing the contract because the online information is so thorough. So they sign the purchase contract and even put down a large deposit. When they send the check to the real estate agent, it looks legitimate–and is even the trust account of a large law firm. If the agent were to contact the law firm they would be told both the account and the account holder are legitimate. The check is even bigger than the money deposit amount and doesn’t seem suspicious in any way.
The instructions that come along with the check say that a portion is to be used for the earnest money, and the balance should be sent to another account that the buyer will use to buy furnishings for the house.