How many houses have you shown throughout your career? Hundreds? Thousands? Chances are you have lost count already. But as Carl Carter Jr., of the Beverly Carter Foundation, retold his late mother’s story, he reminded Realtors® that it just takes one “bad guy.” Carter’s mom, Beverly, was a Realtor® in Arkansas who was murdered in September 2014 at the hands of a couple posing as clients. Carter spoke to Realtors® about his mother’s story in a recent webinar, Never Give Safety a Day Off.
Carter said his mother was targeted because the criminals said they thought she was a “rich broker” who worked alone. Posing as a couple looking to relocate to the area, they told her they were looking to purchase a property with all cash. However, the first time Beverly met the couple was at a vacant home, and the female half didn’t show up. The names they provided were fake, they had created email addresses to match them and had spoofed a phone number, making it look like they really were from out of town.
Unbeknownst to Beverly, who didn’t ask for proof of the alleged all cash or for identification, the couple had ill intentions, ultimately leaving her dead. Carter stressed the importance of meeting new clients first in a neutral location and asking for identification.
“Her killers searched her Facebook profile to gain more information,” said Carter, which is a reminder to check your settings on Facebook and also think twice about what you are sharing on social media.
“They came across as a picky buyer situation, but they weren’t shopping for a home, they were searching for the perfect crime scene,” added Carter, noting that the home was a foreclosure and was known to have squatters and acts of vandalism. Additionally, the property was near where Carter lived, making her feel more comfortable, her son said.
“We have this unconscious bias, if a female is involved, it’s good to go,” said Carter, noting that the female half of the couple was reassuring when they spoke on the phone. Carter also encouraged Realtors® to make sure your families know what is going on in your business, when you have showings and when to expect you.
Additionally, Carter suggested agents to research clients online before meeting them to look for red flags.
“I cannot emphasize enough it was another day in real estate for her. Showing properties and planning to pick up dinner on the way home,” he said. “Not only did we lose my mom, we lost her to people she was working so hard to serve.”