Palos Verdes Lifestyle - Norma Toering 310-493-8333

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A Lease, A Little Fraud and the FBI

Charlemagne Int'l Properties listed a lease last week.  We sold our client another property and he decided to keep his current home and list it as a lease.  Easy enough, right?  Wrong!

 

Behind Bars

It seems leases are a very popular targets for the scammers who troll real estate sites searching for new listings and people they can rip off. They copy the info from one site and post it on another with a change in the contact information.  In this case, the culprits found our listing on Zillow and posted it at a much lower rent on Trulia.

 

Needless to say, yesterday was a day from hell.  My phone rang off the hook with good people telling me they knew it was too good to be true, but wanted to alert me my ocean view listing was now being offer $2750 per month below the actual rent amount.  It was nice to confirm most people are basically good. However, a few bad ones can certainly cause a great deal of grief.

 

Trulia was slow to respond, but I did receive an email this morning saying the fraudulent lease ad was removed and a link was given so we can report it to the FBI.  It seems to me Trulia is the one who should file the complaint with the FBI.  How much clout will my one little complaint really carry?

 

 On the other hand, this happens all too often on sites such as Trulia and Zillow.  It seems the phone number given is recognized as part of a scamming organization.  Why on earth are they still allowed to troll real estate sites and create havoc for listing agents?  I'd like to think my listings are secure, or at least the sites will aggressively pursue acts of fraud.  Instead, it is up to me to contact the FBI.  I lost no money, and we caught it before an unsuspecting tenant mailed a cashier's check or a payment to someone's PayPal account, but it did cost me time and aggravation.  

 

I fear my little case will not rank very high on the FBI's list of Most Wanted.  I also fear, the lease stalker is already back to work.  

 

Photo taken by Norma Toering of a stray cat behind bars in Cairo, Egypt 2009.

Sell Smart, Buy Wise and Live Well

Norma Toering - Real Estate BrokerNorma Toering & Team
Broker-Owner - Charlemagne International Properties
310.493.8333 - Email Norma

 

 

 

 

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Based on information from the Association of REALTORS®/Multiple Listing as of the initial date of this article/blog publication and /or other sources. Display of MLS data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the MLS. The Broker/Agent providing the information contained herein may or may not have been the Listing and/or Selling Agent.

Comments

Hi Norma, that's just one more reason to not like those sites!  I'm sure your day was ruined by this fraud.

Posted by Sybil Campbell, REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia (Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia) almost 4 years ago

Sybil - You got that right!

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) almost 4 years ago

Norma,  I love the photo.  Too bad that beautiful cat is stray. Like all cats, they deserve a warm and loving home. But, I digress

I would like to see sites like Trulia take a proactive role in preventing such scam.  It's a profit center. They want our listing data but no responsibility for how is it misused.  It does not make them any money.

Of course it took up your time and was frustrating ... you will never recover the time lost ... add it to another one of the many time sucks we deal with in this business.

I'm glad you caught it before any monetary damage was done.

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) almost 4 years ago

Norma - It seems like big T and Z should take a little more time to check the posting source and take the reporting of problems more seriously.  It's not your job to play enforcement officer on their sites!

Posted by Laura Allen, Lake Tahoe - Truckee Real Estate for Sale www.TahoeLauraLuxuryHomes.com, Tahoe Real Estate Agent Helping Buyers and Sellers (Coldwell Banker, Tahoe City, CA (530) 414-1260) almost 4 years ago

Norma - Lately, scams on leases increasing rapidly. For these reasons, I feel uncomfortable involve in lease transactions.

Posted by John Pusa, Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest) almost 4 years ago

Hi Norma -- it seems Z, T and, of course, our friend Craig S List are common destinations for these fraudsters.  What a waste of time.

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 4 years ago

Kathleen - That cat with the piercing green eyes begged for a bite throughout my meal--lots of strays in Cairo.  The other diners thought I was crazy to take pics of the cat, but I, too, love the photo.

FBI report is completed and filed.

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) almost 4 years ago

Laura - That's the exact thought that passed through my mind as I dealt with the "privilege" of having my listing on their site.

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) almost 4 years ago

John - I don't actively seek leases, but I do handle them for my clients if asked.

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) almost 4 years ago

Michael - Yes, I think those sites need to file the reports rather than leave it up to individual agents.  I'm sure most agents take one look at that FBI questionnaire and say forget it.  On the other hand, if Z,T and CL would filed it would be a fat folder of fraud complaints and might garner some attention from authorities. But what do I know...

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) almost 4 years ago

What a nightmare! I never liked the idea of Trulia and Zillow getting too involved in our business. Although slow to respond, I'm glad Trulia took care of it but I still think more investigation has to go on to find out how something like this happened in the first place. Something like this could cause havoc for the listing agent and never should happen in the first place.

Posted by Patricia Feager, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) almost 4 years ago

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