Real estate fraudsters are impersonating popular real estate agents online and then asking their colleagues to purchase gift cards on their behalf.

In an official report issued on Wednesday, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Carol Rutledge said that the state has seen a new wave of scammers going after real estate agents. To gain the trust of other agents, fraudsters have been seeking out the names of popular agents and real estate brokerages online and impersonating them.

Through emails and texts, the scammers will reach out to colleagues listed on the site with requests to purchase gift cards worth hundreds of dollars — some have even gone so far as to say that they were “closing gifts for clients” that would be paid back by the brokerage. The state has also seen scammers target agents and homebuyers with emails telling them that their payment method has suddenly changed.

“As we become more aware of possible scams, these bad actors are upping their game and using the people we know and trust to get to our money,” Rutledge said in the report. “They use familiar names and have believable requests, but when it comes to your money always use an abundance of caution, pick up the phone and call directly.”

According to Rutledge, agents are particularly vulnerable to scams since their name and contact information needs to be prominent online. She advised agents to verify any online requests in person. Brokerages and managers, meanwhile, could consider issuing a company-wide policy for expenses through specific forms and credit cards so that employees can sense that something is amiss when scammers strike.

Carl Carter, the son of Arkansas real estate agent Beverly Carter, who was kidnapped and murdered in 2014 after showing a home to a man who she believed was a prospective buyer, told Inman that he heard from agents targeted by similar scams all over the country. One of them transferred over $800 in what she thought was an “urgent closing gift” request from her broker before realized that it was a scam.

“Agents that receive requests similar to this should immediately call their broker to confirm the request,” he said. “Although part of the scam is the broker being ‘stuck in a meeting,’ agents should verbally confirm the request before purchasing any gift cards or transferring funds.”

Email Veronika Bondarenko

Are you ready for what the industry holds in 2020? Inman Connect New York is your key to unlocking opportunity in a changing market. At Connect you will gain insight into the future, discover new strategies and network with real estate’s best and brightest to accelerate your business. Create your 2020 success story at Inman Connect New York, January 28-31, 2019.

Agenda | Speakers | Past Connect Videos

Thinking of bringing your team? There are special onsite perks and discounts when you buy tickets together. Contact us to find out more.

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription