NASHVILLE TN (WSMV) - A local business is warning consumers about a cold call scam that is targeting homeowners. Homeowners have notified the Better Business Bureau of Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky about a person posing as a real estate agent for TN HomeBuyers.
“He actually knew my name,” Yvonne Eaves said.
Homeowner Yvonne Eaves didn’t think much of it at first since she’s been trying to sell her home for a while. But then the caller got suspicious.
“I asked him I said, “Can I have a phone number to call you back? And he gave me a phone number and it was not a 615 phone number,” Eaves said.
That’s when she knew something wasn’t right.
“I said you know, um I thought you all were here local? And his comment was ’Well, we are a call service center and we represent them,” Eaves said.
“It’s really disturbing. Very frustrating and it’s bad for somebody to misrepresent your company,” Dan Laine, President and Founder of TN HomeBuyers said.
The imposters will call and inquire about the individual's home. They will ask some basic questions and then quickly switch the conversation to making an offer on the house. They may sound legitimate and will, in some cases, even send the homeowner contracts posing as TN Homebuyers. If the homeowner says they are not interested, the con artists will perpetually call and texts the homeowner hoping to force the purchase.
Laine said TN HomeBuyers would never place cold calls to residents. Apparently these fake calls have been going around so much one of their own employees was affected.
“One of our ladies in the front office actually got a call to her personal cell phone,” Laine said.
The fake caller told their employee that their local company was based out of state. Now Laine’s goal is to get the word out about the imposters to protect consumers.
“We’re not real sure of what their intention is, whether it’s to get personal information or if it really is to buy the property--but we know that they’re dishonest when they call,” Laine said.
While the exact goal of this scam is unknown, the BBB has seen similar practices used to gain access information and to also scam consumers out of closing costs.
"It is always a red flag when someone lies because it means they have a reason to hide," said Robyn Householder, President and CEO of BBB serving Middle TN and Southern KY. "Unfortunately, the situation is continuing to escalate, and it is also undermining homeowners trust of TN Homebuyers and other real-estate companies that are doing reputable business in this market."
BBB recommends that if you receive a cold call from someone claiming to be TN Homebuyers that you report it at BBB.org/scamtracker. Also, if you have been contacted previously or you did sell your home over the phone to someone claiming to be TN homebuyers, please report it to BBB.org/scamtracker.
BBB offers these tips for real estate:
· Look for contact information. Search the company's website for a physical address, phone number, and email address. Call the phone number listed on the website to verify that the person is a real person from the company. If the website doesn't have any contact information, you may want to choose a different company.
· Get multiple candidates. Interview several candidates before choosing one sell of your home.
· Ask for references. Ask the agent or company for recommendations from previous clients.
· Ask for Referrals. Ask friends and family members who have recently bought or sold their homes for recommendations. Ask if they were satisfied with their experience and if they would use the agent or company in the future. Be sure to ask if there are agents or companies to avoid.
· Resist pressure to give on the spot. Don't give in to excessive pressure on the phone to make an immediate decision.
· Carefully read the Contract. Do not choose a real estate agent who pressures you to sign documents immediately. Carefully read the documents and make sure the agent answers any of your questions. If you are selling your home, usually, you sign a contract granting the agent exclusive rights to sell your property within a period of time. Make sure to ask about the length of that period of time.
· Keep detailed records. Print or save records of your online transactions, including the product description and price, the online receipt, and the emails you send and receive from the seller. Read your credit card statements as you receive them; be on the lookout for charges that you don't recognize.