Multiple real estate agents say they are being catfished by a man posing to be a wealthy buyer
LAS VEGAS (KVVU/Gray News) – Multiple real estate agents in Las Vegas are being targeted by a man who they say pretends 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.
Within the past month and a half, roughly 10 agents say they’ve dealt with a man posing to be part of a wealthy and well-known family in the area. None of them could verify if he was truly part of the family or not, but all of them said he wasted their time.
Michele Dugan has been a local real estate agent for nearly 25 years. Her sister Tricia Morgan-Tilley works alongside her together as Sisters Selling Vegas under Realty One Group.
The unknown man had Sisters Selling Vegas write an all-cash offer for him on a $1.5 million house. The offer got accepted by the seller without ever showing proof of funds.
Dugan said normally, they don’t present offers without having proof of funds, but the listing agents never asked for it. She suspects the agents recognized the man’s name as being part of a wealthy family and did not question it.
“We pushed for the proof of funds, many, many times and didn’t get it, and by that time, we already had a signed offer, so we had to move. We had to act,” Dugan said. “And when we acted, they never asked for it [on] the listing side. They must’ve seen the name because they never even asked us any questions. They just said, ‘Yeah the seller accepts.’”
They opened an escrow account but never received the money. The unknown man even requested a home inspection, which was completed, but the inspector never got paid.
The sisters, the seller’s agent, and the home inspector were left scratching their heads.
The seller’s agent tried to contact the man several times, only to discover the number had been disconnected.
Now, the sisters want to warn others.
“I’ve never had an artificial buyer; I’ve never had that happen,” Dugan said. “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.”
The sisters aren’t the only ones who believe they were targeted by this man. Melissa Croysdill, another real estate agent, knows of eight other agents with similar stories.
“You have to be very careful with identify theft and things like that, but never somebody having me do so 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 the man sounded normal on the phone, but things got “interesting” when it came time to show proof of funds. She said the man told her he was in the hospital.
The sisters were told a similar story, and they were left even further confused after contacting the hospital.
“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.
The sisters and Croysdill all agree it’s a terrible feeling to have someone play with your emotions and waste your 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, sad and lonely,” Morgan-Tilley said.
The National Association of Realtors has an entire webpage dedicated to safety tips here.
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