PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla — A text exchange with a potential cash buyer turned into an alarming situation for Tampa realtor Torrie Jasuwan.
She said the man wanted her to show him the listing just before 8 am Sunday and asked for the lockbox code if she couldn’t be there. She told the man she wasn’t available at that time but would see if another agent could come by. She then asked him for proof of funds.
“Obviously, the first thing you think of is, hey I’m going to make sure he’s a valid buyer and make sure he’s pre-qualified or approved for funds. So at that point, I ask the buyer to provide a proof of funds,” said Jasuwan.
But he was immediately offended by the proof of funds request and texted back, “that’s kind of evasive,” before he sent a blurry screenshot of an ATM receipt which was a red flag for Jasuwan.
“In all my years I’ve never had someone send an ATM receipt as a proof of funds,” she said. "Typically, it would be a bank statement with sensitive information blurred out, but the buyer's name listed, or a letter for the bank."
When she searched the photo on Google it came up in multiple articles and on multiple websites. ABC Action News has blurred the photo even more since we don’t know who it originally belongs to. Jasuwan said she cut off communication shortly after he threatened to get his lawyer involved, but the harassment continued.
“The calls to the office began and I had already told everyone, hey if you get a call from this phone number or anyone stating this name be careful, do not meet them under any circumstances,” she said. “And once again he tries to get a female agent to meet him by themselves.”
He even tried to leave a bad review online with information that led Jasuwan to believe he looked up her home address. And, while she doesn’t know his intentions she wants to warn fellow realtors to be extra cautious.
“There’s a ton of new agents out there you know, we’re a very saturated market with agents moving here and starting,” she said. “Many of them are young, so it’s really important that we as broker-owners teach new agents proper safety precautions and to always know what to look out for.”
She said the same goes for private sellers.
“For sale by owners, I mean they need to be extremely careful because they don’t have the knowledge to know, you know, what a proper proof of funds is or what to look for or what are red flags,” she said. “If you’re selling your home on your own please be extremely careful, ask for an ID and information that you can properly verify before having anyone you don’t know in your home.”
She’s reported the incident to the Pinellas County Realtor organization so they can make other agents aware of what happened and help them be on the lookout for repeat behavior from this person.