The Silicon Valley Association of Realtors recently learned of a new scam involving the real estate industry.
The scam involves phone calls purportedly from a company identifying itself as “The Association of Realtors” that seeks permission to visit the person’s home. SILVAR officials want to inform the public that they would never make such calls, nor insist on visiting a person’s home.
“This appears to be the latest real estate scam, and we want the public to be aware of it in case they receive similar calls,” said Denise Welsh, president of SILVAR. “Never give out any personal information, nor allow a person to come into your home, unless that person is your own realtor.”
Anatomy of a scam
A realtor received the suspicious phone call and reported the scam to SILVAR. The realtor said the caller identified herself as “Maria” and proceeded to claim that someone from “The Association of Realtors” would like to visit their home to provide a free Home Market Report and a Community Market Report. In this instance, Maria did not know that the person on the other line was a realtor, who challenged the caller with probing questions in an attempt to identify the source and validity of the call.
The caller said she would be sending a realtor to the person’s home to provide two free reports. When questioned again about the association, the caller rambled on, citing the names of various real estate companies. The transcript of the rest of the conversation continues below.
Homeowner (Realtor): Wait. ... I’m confused. I thought they were coming from the Association of Realtors? Which association?
Maria: All of them.
Homeowner: Do you work for the Association of Realtors? Where are you located?
Maria: Yes, I’m in Irvine.
Homeowner: Are you employed by the Association of Realtors?
Maria: Yes and the Bureau of ... (long pause).
Homeowner: Who is your employer?
Maria: A real estate agency group and the Association of Realtors. I am an assistant.
Homeowner: How is someone in Irvine going to know the value of my house?
Maria: We will have agents in your area tomorrow, and they can come to your house.
Homeowner: I need to talk to my partner about the appointment. Do you have a number where I can reach you to set up an appointment?
Maria: We have a high volume of calls and you cannot call back. I will call you.
Homeowner: OK. I look forward to hearing from you.
“SILVAR is a professional trade organization representing over 5,000 realtors and affiliate members engaged in the real estate business on the Peninsula and in the South Bay,” Welsh said. “SILVAR promotes the highest ethical standards of real estate practice and serves as an advocate for homeownership and homeowners. SILVAR would never make such phone calls or solicitations.”
Welsh said SILVAR has alerted its members to the scam. If they or their clients receive such a phone call, she urged them to call the California Association of Realtors legal hotline at (213) 739-8282.