Warning! Fake client trying to lure agents to properties

by REP07 Nov 2014
Industry leaders are cautioning agents working Toronto’s west end, warning them about a seemingly ideal client intent on luring them to vacant properties.
In Etobicoke, this individual is posing as a buyer and is targeting female agents, aiming to find them alone at a vacant property. The Toronto Real Estate Board released a member alert via its intranet, detailing the attempts made on at least five women in a single office.
The individual claims to be a doctor relocating from British Columbia, and is looking for an $800,000 home for his wife – a fellow doctor – and their two children.
The deception is a reminder of the tragic kidnapping and murder of a real estate agent in Arkansas. The man arrested for the crime said he targeted the agent “because she was just a woman that worked alone, a rich broker.”
News of the scam came to light when one female agent told her colleague that she received the same request from a similar buyer. That interaction, she said, turned sour and the buyer began harassing her with phone calls and rude text messages.
The agents looked further into the individual’s story, and found that no hospitals – whether downtown or in Etobicoke – were planning to hire a doctor by the name the individual provided.
The individual contacted at least four other female agents in that office, though TREB was unable to disclose which Toronto office that is.
One of those agents agreed to meet the individual, but smartly brought her husband. While waiting outside the property, she noted a silver Acura slow down, make a U-turn, then speed away. The individual later made an excuse for not showing up.
TREB said each agent was contacted directly on her mobile phone, not through the real estate office. The properties that the individual requested to see were each vacant.
Agents, and especially those in Etobicoke, are reminded to enact safe practices while showing properties.
For safety tips, click through to the next page.

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  • by 11/7/2014 3:47:21 PM

    I try to take my husband with me on rural property showings (when I am meeting buyers or sellers for the first time). As he is a CF Member and deployed often, he got me some "bear spray" and a small pocket knife. I also have a 95lbs dog who comes when he can't.

  • by 11/7/2014 4:43:16 PM

    Hmmm. Interesting to read. Here in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, BC, earlier this year we had a person professing to be a doctor from Toronto - same scenario. it came to light, again, because a few female agents were talking about "their" client only to find out that the same story had been told to more than one. Another reason I am, probably not popularly, against agent photographs on signs. I realise there are other ways of finding agents' photographs (online, realty paper) but the sign seems too easy. and, yes, I am a female agent.

  • by Farida Jones 11/7/2014 7:31:37 PM

    If we were to put our normal working day as female realtors into the context of online dating...Would you meet some unknown date at a vacant location or his home? It is time that we set the bar a little higher. Obtaining ID or pre-screening are not enough. Men should not assume we are always available willing and able....to show a property. CREA needs to launch a public campaign of awareness so the public does not have this expectation of us...and male realtors can also be vulnerable.

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