Las Vegas realtors ‘catfished’ by man posing to be a wealthy buyer
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Several real estate agents in the valley are saying they’re being targeted by a man posing to be a wealthy homebuyer but then backs out of deals leaving everyone scratching their heads as to who he is and what his motives are.
To catfish someone is to lie or hide behind another individual’s identity. Within this past month-and-a-half more than a handful of realtors say, they dealt with a man posing to be part of a wealthy and well-known family in the valley. None of them could verify if he was or was not part of the family - but all could confirm he wasted time.
Michele Dugan has been a local real estate agent for nearly 25 years. Three years ago her sister Tricia Morgan-Tilley worked alongside her, together they’re Sisters Selling Vegas under Realty One Group.
The man had the sisters write an offer on a $1.5 million dollar house he will pay in cash. The offer got accepted without ever showing proof of funds.
“Normally we don’t like to present offers without- if it’s a loan client having an approval letter from the lender and if it’s a cash client having proof of funds. But we didn’t have that. We pushed for the proof of funds, many, many times and didn’t get it and by that time we had already a signed offer so we had to move- we had to act. And when we acted they never asked for it- the listing side. They must’ve seen the name because they never even asked us any questions they just said- yeah the seller accepts,” Dugan said.
They opened escrow but never received the money. He even requested a home inspection but the inspector never got paid. The sisters, sellers agent and home inspector were left scratching their heads. The seller’s agent tried to contact him.
“So they tried a couple times the ways we gave him, both text and email. And pretty quickly they got back to my sister and said the number has been disconnected,” Morgan-Tilley said.
Now the sisters want to warn other realtors.
“I’ve never had an artificial buyer, I’ve never had that happen. And it just tells me with social media and with these electronic times and with the valley growing, that’s something we have to super pay attention to,” Dugan said.
And they’re not the only ones. Melissa Croysdill, a local realtor, knows 8 other agents with similar stories.
“You have to be very careful with identify theft and things like that but never somebody having me do some much work being so persistent, and lying with so many details all to still to this day not know what the end game was,” Croysdill said.
Croysdill said he sounded normal on the phone. Setting up showings was fine, but things got ‘interesting’ when it came time to showing proof of funds.
She said he would end up saying he was in the hospital. The sisters were told a similar story.
“We did call the hospital several times, and asked for his name, and they transferred us to a room so there was somebody there in the hospital,” Morgan-Tilley said.
They both agree it’s terrible feeling to have someone play on your emotions and time.
“We just want to let other realtors know there’s a guy preying on realtors right now to waste our time, to waste a lot of people’s time because he’s bored, and sad and lonely,” Morgan-Tilley said.
The National Association of Realtors has an entire webpage dedicated to safety tips here.
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