Friday, April 01, 2005

Realtor Identity Theft!

Here's a good one for you. Police say a woman stole a Realtor's identity and duped renters into paying cash for a town house she had no business renting.

Miami-Dade police are searching for a woman who posed as a real estate agent and duped at least seven people into paying cash for two Kendall town houses she had no right to rent.

After convincing the real estate company that was renting the properties to give her the code to the lock box, police say the woman met with potential ''renters'' on March 1, 2 and 3, collected $1,800 in cash -- and then disappeared.

When the people, who are mainly from the Kendall and West Kendall areas, went to move into the town houses on March 8, their keys did not work.

She said her name was Digna Torres from Boynton Beach, and placed an advertisement in The Flyer for town houses located in the 8500 block of Southwest 109th Avenue.

Sad thing is Digna Torres is really a licensed realtor with Coldwell Banker(just down the road from my office)but it was not her. This person used her name to gain access to the units. (Stole her Identity) Here so many of the realtors use combination lockboxes not electronic due to the cost of the boxes being $100. So to show a home we have to call give our name, company name, office phone number and license number. This NEVER made any sense to me at all. Anyone could call with this information to get the combination to get the key enter the home. The electronic lockboxes record who and what time the home was entered and you have to get the key (to access the lockbox) from the Association meaning you are "truly" licensed.

When I first started in the Business the Company provided the lockboxes. You had to check them out in your name and return them or you paid for them. Then the Brokers decided that was an expense they no longer wanted to incur. That caused the agents to have to purchase lockboxes at approx $100 a piece. So if a seller removes it and then can not find it, you are out $100.

I feel the key security in this area is very lax. A lot of times you have to go by the other agents office to p/u a key by just showing your business card. I would suggest that agents take on the costs and responsiblity of key control. The electronic lockboxes can be set that they do not open except during certain times during the day. You also can go online and look at who has been in the home and for how long. This gal could not have committed these crimes using these particular units had they been on Electronic Lockboxes. She would not have had the key.

(Police are looking for a heavy-set Hispanic woman in her 40s with a medium complexion, about five-feet four-inches tall with short black hair. Anyone who has information on the woman, or who may be a victim of this fraud can call Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at 305-471-8477.)


Post a Comment

<< Home