In the last week the Board of Realtors in the New Orleans area has posted warnings about a scam that is occurring with a scammer posing as a real estate agent and over the weekend this story made the local news here. This is not new however now there is a particular person that is being searched for,
This is how is works. A consumer finds a property on Craig’s List for rent. They call the agent’s phone number on the ad and are told they can go view the property and are given a lock box code. The potential tenants go preview the property and call the agent that they are interested and the “agent” arranges to meet them and asks them to bring a deposit to hold the property. They meet the tenant pays them and he then tells them they will meet them the next day to sign the paperwork. Then the “agent” disappears…
So, what can you do to protect yourself?
1. Ask for the agents office number and call them there. Speak to them through the office number and verify they are the person you are speaking to. All ads must contain the name, location and the phone number for the real estate office and not just the agent’s cell number either on the ad or clicking through to an agent’s website.
2. Most agents have a picture online either through google of their office website. Look them up.
3. You can check if a person in licensed in the State of Louisiana by going to the Louisiana Real Estate Commission website and going to licensee look up – enter the name.
4. Only agree to meet at the agent’s office, not a local coffee shop or at the corner of such and such.
If the individual won’t agree to meet at their office call the police..