REALTOR® Safety & Fraud

Over a quarter of real estate agents have reported feeling unsafe while showing properties to prospective clients. These results do not come as a surprise as many REALTORS® meet prospective clients very briefly prior to venturing out to show vacant properties alone with them. Click here for some essential strategies when faced with danger, and click here for 11 tips for staying safe when showing homes.

To ensure you are as safe as possible while showing properties, make safety a priority. Hear the story of one San Antonio REALTOR® and the lifesaving strategies she learned:

Do you know what to do to stay safe in your office? You can help safeguard your business’s property, your personal property and the safety of all who work in the office with a few procedures and precautions. Click here for a simple guide on staying safe at work.

The savvy real estate professional is frequently updating their social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. However, because of the nature of your work, you may have friends or followers that you don’t know personally. What can you do to protect your reputation online? Click here for the ultimate guide to staying safe with social media.

Worried about your email privacy? Click here to learn some useful strategies for keeping your email secure.

Stay informed about scams and fraud schemes that are affecting REALTORS® in our area and nationwide.

Check the stories and links below for more information:

  • Safety Alert: Scammer Stealing from Agent Offices

    Please be aware of this safety concern SABOR has been advised of occurring in the San Antonio and Austin regions.  Read more

  • Email Scam Alert

    Please be advised there is a scam continuing to circulate in which agents are being contacted via email from someone impersonating a REALTOR®. Read more

  • Scam Alert 6-16-16

    Please be advised there is a scam circulating in which agents are being contacted via email from someone impersonating a REALTOR®. They state they have a cash offer and provide links to view the offer in Google Docs and Dropbox. The emails appear to be coming from an agent named Rebecca Caterville, but we have […] Read more

  • Scam Alert 3-28-16

    Learn how tax scammers are targeting REALTORS®  in this article from the Young Professionals Network. Read more

  • Scam Alert 2-25-16

    Be cautious if you receive any unsolicited text messages asking if you do home inspection services. There has been a report of a potential scam regarding home estimates. If you are contacted by an individual claiming to be in the hospital and asking you to run his credit card for a down payment to be […] Read more

  • Scam Alert 7-30-15

    We have had reports of agents experiencing wire fraud incidents. These have typically occurred in the following ways: First scenario: •  The criminal sends the agent an email with a prospective offer on a listing, but in order to see it the agent must log in to Google Drive (which looks deceptively real) •  Once […] Read more

  • Scam Alert 4-17-15

    Please be aware! Agents have reported a scam in which a man is looking to move in fast (within a few days) to a property with a lease prior to closing and indicates he wants to pay cash. He produces fake proof of funds and wants to look at primarily vacant properties. In some cases, […] Read more

  • Scam Alert 4-14-15

    A Broker member of SABOR and MLS provided this notification to SABOR: A scammer created email addresses for the agent, the title rep and the seller involved in a transaction. The hacker/scam artist corresponded with each of these parties and ultimately was able to instruct the title company to redirect seller proceeds to the hacker’s […] Read more

  • Scam Alert 2-18-15

    SABOR has received a number of emails regarding rental scams. It has been reported that valid rentals are being taken from the Internet and then the scammers change the contact information to their own contact information. This results in deposit checks being sent to the scammers.  Right now there is little detail that can be […] Read more

  • Scam Alert 2-18-15

    Be advised that we are seeing an increase in the type of scam described below in Scam Alert 10-21-14.  There are different variations, but ultimately the scammer attempts to get you to click on a link that supposedly leads to an offer, but in reality in leads to malicious programs that attempt to infect your […] Read more

  • Safety Alert – 1-26-15

    Be advised that more than 50 female agents have been contacted, via text and phone calls, over the weekend by a man who has obtained their information from Brokerage websites. He has been harassing members by repeatedly attempting to contact them and requesting an in-person visit. The phone calls have been during all hours and […] Read more

  • Safety Alert – 11-7-14

    A REALTOR® has reported a suspicious person posing as a potential client. When the REALTOR® asked for his identification and proof of funds, he would not provide either. When he did send his ID, it was too blurry to read. He then tried to get the REALTOR® to meet with him alone. When she questioned […] Read more

  • Scam Alert – 10-21-14

    Be advised that a hacker is pretending to be a legitimate REALTOR® in an attempt to get true REALTORS® to click on a link that contains malicious programs.  Specifically, someone is pretending to be Tammy Williams, a legitimate REALTOR® in California.  This person is contacting Agents who have properties listed on our Public Property Search […] Read more

  • Scam Alert – 10-3-14

    It was reported 10/02/14 that at a high-end listing, a white Lexus RX drove up into the driveway. It had a real estate company sign on the doors. (On this particular visit, it was a //franchise company). Two individuals approached the front door of the home and were meet by the seller. They introduced themselves […] Read more

  • Scam Alert – 9-3-14

    A SABOR member received several emails from a supposed buyer by the name Yoshika Joya based in Japan. This scammer told the REALTOR® he wanted a residential home priced between $500,000 and $1 million, with 4-5 bedrooms, 4-5 bathrooms and a 2 car garage, and that he would not be able to meet in person […] Read more

  • Scam Alert – 7-8-14

    There is a man that claims to be a prospective buyer from Florida.  He is calling female agents and setting up showings for large vacant residential properties.  He has used the names Jeff Robinson, Andrew Chandler, Bill Scott, or Troy Casey.  He provides a cell #.  At this point he has been reported for making […] Read more

  • Scam Alert – 5/5/14

    ALERT: The man referred to as Tony in this video is in San Antonio right now. He has said he is looking to buy a house in the Universal City/New Braunfels area. The video at the link below was forwarded to a member and she was advised against taking his calls. Please take a look […] Read more

  • Scam Alert – 10/4/13

    There is an email scam going around in which emails will appear to come from other agents. The email addresses are legitimate and even signed with the agent’s name, company, and phone number. However, they are not emails from that agent. The subject of the email may something similar to: “Please Authentisign This Document 8484522884884.pdf” […] Read more

  • Scam Alert – 7/29/13

    Unfortunately as a REALTOR®, scams pop up from time to time that could affect your business. The best way to protect yourself from falling victim to a scammer is by staying informed, acting cautiously and not taking chances when it comes to your safety or the integrity of the property. The most recent scam SABOR […] Read more

  • Scam Alert – 7/24/13

    Attention Property Managers – please read this report (pdf) from one of our members. Read more

  • Scam Alert 7-22-13

    Please be aware of this latest scam regarding property that is for sale being put on sites  like postlets and hotpads under the owners name for rent.  The actual owner shows as the individual with the ad; however, the contact information for the owner is not the owners.  A prospective renter sees the ad and […] Read more

  • Safety Alert 4-4-13

    This alert is being posted once again because a San Antonio agent recently encountered this individual again. Please continue to be vigilant . This is an update to this message issued 10/24/12 – A recent situation arose involving an agent that felt threatened in the New Braunfels area. The agent had reason to feel unsafe […] Read more

  • Scam Alert 1/15/13

    A buyer claiming to be a General Wilson called to say that he is going to be stationed at Randolph and asked to see  properties from 3.5million-5 million.  The Broker receiving the call was apprehensive about the call and called the number back.  The recording was the same individual with a different name.  He was […] Read more

  • Potential Assault Alert 10-24-12

    A recent situation arose involving an agent that felt threatened in the New Braunfels area. The agent had reason to feel unsafe and the man in question wanted her to show him vacant properties. After stalling him, other customers arrived and the man fled in his maroon 4-door passenger car. The man was described as […] Read more

Assault Alert – San Antonio, Austin, Boerne:

SABOR is asking REALTORS® to remain vigilant in light of reported security risks in the Austin, Boerne, and San Antonio areas. REALTORS®, do not make plans to meet an unfamiliar buyer in a vacant property alone. If you find yourself in this situation, take someone along as there is safety in numbers. Reportedly, there have been four separate incidents involving Austin REALTORS® who had entered vacant properties that had been staged for a sexual assault under the guise of a property showing. These situations included an air mattress with ropes and ties stored in a closet. These incidents are said to have involved a man by the name of “Tate”. The individual is said to be dressed in medical scrubs.  If you encounter this individual or find yourself in an emergency during a property showing, contact the San Antonio Police Department.

Craigslist Real Estate Scams:

Be aware of a scam regarding REALTOR® “For Sale” listings being advertised on Craig’s List as “For Rent” properties that ask consumers to send rental applications and monies to someone who doesn’t actually exist.  Please check your listings to be sure this isn’t happening to you and report any discrepancies or problems with your listings to Craig’s List’s facilitators.  Click here to see more references on how to be aware of and avoid these types of scams – doc.

Alert: NAR Name Used in Consumer Scam:

NAR’s Finance division has become aware of a scam under which fraudulent checks are being issued to people from the “National Assoc of Realtors.” After recipients deposit the checks, they receive a request to return some of the funds. The scam succeeds when the recipients comply by sending their own funds before the fraudulent checks from “NAR” are returned unpaid. There is no financial risk to NAR as a result of this scam; rather, the risk is to NAR’s financial reputation if word were to spread that NAR is somehow involved in distributing fraudulent checks. Please alert your members that their national association is not involved in these actions but is a victim of corporate identity theft. For more info contact John Pierpoint, 312/329-8260.

Fraud Alert – Avoid This E-mail Scam:

Sham e-mails from a wealthy, out-of-area consumer looking for a residential property have been landing in real estate professionals’ Inboxes in the past few weeks. The messages, which come from a variety of aliases, are written in an unnatural, grammatically incorrect manner. If the real estate professional responds to the inquiry and sends the individual listing information, the alleged buyer selects the most expensive property from the list for purchase, claims that it will be an all-cash transaction, requests the information that he needs to write on the deposit check, and states that the check will be sent either to the real estate brokerage or to an attorney. Then, the practitioner will receive a forged check larger than the deposit amount; if it’s cashed, the alleged buyer will immediately withdraw the overage amount from the escrow account, which is the amount that the real estate pro will lose when the bank discovers the initial check is a forgery. If a member receives this e-mail, locate your local FBI office here and forward the message there.

Brokerage Scams in the DFW Areapdf

Scams Affecting Title Companiesdoc

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