The police investigation into the man targeting and sexually threatening numerous female REALTORS® across the Lower Mainland in recent weeks is now making news headlines and appears to have goaded the man into calling back a REALTOR® he has already victimized.
The story has received extensive coverage in the last 24 hours – CBC News, Global TV News, News 1130, Yahoo News Canada – and last night, after doing media interviews about how disturbing these calls and texts are, Langley Realtor, Kylene Shannon received multiple call-backs from the same perpetrator, including one at 4 am waking her up.
The Board can’t stress enough the importance for all members to remain diligent and on guard and to report any similar incidents to the police and to the Board (firstname.lastname@example.org ).
President, Chris Shields, “The safety of our members is of utmost importance to the Board.”
He adds, “This is very disturbing, particularly this recent news of him re-targeting one of our members just because she was brave and spoke out on behalf of the safety of the profession.
“As I told News 1130, thankfully, this has not progressed beyond disturbing phone calls, however, we’re strongly warning all REALTORS to remain vigilant and on guard.
Chris confirmed in the media interview that the Board alerted members immediately in an eAlert on January 8, followed by a reminder text a week later and a posting on our Paragon MOTD, as well as informing the reporter of our industry’s robust safety resources for Realtors.
The man’s method of approach appears to be consistent
As detailed in the media stories as well as in our Board eAlert, for a number of weeks now, a man has targeted at least a dozen female REALTORS® across our region by posing as a referral, or he spins a story of an ailing parent needing to move into a care home and needs a REALTOR® to help sell the home.
This is exactly what happened to Kylene, with Forefront Real Estate in Langley, who confirmed to the Board that the man starts with a phone call that then progresses to texts that include obscene images and explicit messages.
“He pretended to be a referral and then claimed that this was on behalf of his Dad who was sitting nearby, which tugged at my heartstrings because you want to help vulnerable seniors. This man is definitely trying to elicit sympathy, at least at the start, to keep you on the phone.
Realtors common targets: In the public eye and always striving to guide, advise and protect clients
“As Realtors, we just want to work hard and do a good job on behalf of our clients; to be subjected to this – he called me several times and sent dirty messages – it made me uneasy,” described Kylene. “It’s scary.”
In addition to contacting the Board, Kylene has filed a report with police and contacted them again with the new update that she is again receiving lewd, harassing calls. Unfortunately, the perpetrator may prove elusive for police, as he’s spoofing phone numbers, meaning he’s using an app to disguise his own number, and it changes with every call.
Chris added, “We’re grateful that police are taking this as seriously as we are and given our history of working so closely with police through Realty Watch, we have full confidence in their abilities to investigate and hopefully find this person to put an end to it.”
In the meantime, stay alert, save any suspicious numbers or messages, and please report anything that appears threatening. Also, it’s a good reminder for all members to assess your own personal safety procedures (and for Brokers, those of your office) by reviewing the many safety resources and tips available on our Fraser Valley Realtor safety pages on REALTOR Link® or CREA’s Realtor safety pages as well.