(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Female Realtors in the Lower Mainland receiving harassing phone calls, explicit texts

Board chair urges safety first, says incidents are being reported to police

Dozens of female Realtors around the Lower Mainland have been receiving threatening and harassing phone calls, as well as explicit texts and photos, according to both real estate boards in the region.

Colette Gerber, the board chair of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, told Black Press Media Wednesday (Feb. 3) that the harassing calls started about a month ago.

“What’s been happening is that a male has been contacting some of our female Realtors by phone, starting to talk about wanting to sell a property,” Gerber said. However, the phone calls quickly turn into harassment, as the man changes course, with the conversation “very quickly getting into harassing and threatening conversations followed with rather ugly explicit text messages and doctored photo images.”

Gerber said that around two dozen realtors in REBGV have been harassed across in different communities. The REBGV covers Lower Mainland communities to the west and north of the Fraser River, as well as South Delta, the Sea-to-Sky region and the Sunshine Coast.

Gerber said there doesn’t seem to be any connection between the women receiving these phone calls, aside from it being targeted at female Realtors. She said the issue has been reported to the Vancouver Police Department, who told Black Press Media that their Domestic Violence and Criminal Harassment Unit is investigating incidents that targeted women in that city.

“Who knows what the reason is. If a person thinks that they want to harass, then they will harass,” she said, adding that she’s asked any Realtors who receive these phone calls to report them to police, and let the real estate board know.

Gerber said the harasser has typically called later in the evening, but said that with Realtors taking calls at all times of day it’s difficult to give helpful direction to avoid such calls. She emphasized that the board is concerned with safety first, and home sales second.

“I would suggest that women especially become a little more selective in answering phone calls and perhaps letting things go to voicemails,” Gerber said, adding that the harasser is clearly taking advantage of Realtors trying to be available at all times in order to make sales.

Gerber urged Realtors showing properties to vet their clients and try to not go alone.

“Failing that, have someone know where you are,” she said. “Always, always, always rely on your instinct. If you’re in a situation and you’re feeling uncomfortable, my first words of advice are ‘get out, and the reassess.”

And the calls haven’t been limited to Greater Vancouver. South of the Fraser, the president of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board said that a man has been harassing its Realtors, too.

“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,” said president Chris Shields.

Kylene Shannon, a realtor with the FVREB, said that the calls started with a man calling her claiming his wife or girlfriend needed to sell her recently deceased father’s property.

Shannon at first took the calls at face value, but the wife never made it to the phone. Then, it shifted.

“The text messages suddenly started rolling in that were very explicit, pictures and messages,” Shannon said. “I’m not sure what they wanted, but their messages were just very explicit and graphic.”

Shannon said she has spoken to Langley RCMP about the calls, and that her real estate board has been very supportive, but warned other Realtors to be careful.

“Sometimes we give people the benefit of the doubt, that they’re generally good. But you really have to think about your safety when you’re running a business, especially as a woman,” she said. “Figure out who you’re going to contact and give all that information to, so you can have somebody check in on you, or go with somebody to meet new clients.”

ALSO READ: B.C. mom on mission to track down discontinued frozen waffles for her son with autism


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Real estate

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Longtime basketball coach Allison McNeill is worried that the COVID-19 pandemic will adversely affect high-school athletes with university athletic aspirations. (Garrett James/Langley Events Centre photo)
COVID-19: Young athletes scrambling for scholarships, opportunities amid pandemic

‘They lost their whole Grade 12 year’ says Semiahmoo basketball coach Allison McNeill

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
White Rock woman among dozens in Lower Mainland to benefit from Elder Dog program

Dog-care organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but requires more clients to serve

Travis Selje with Rex, the family dog he got to enjoy for the final six months of his life. (Submitted photo)
Defence says evidence ‘compelling, overwhelming’ to acquit Surrey woman in deadly crash

Epileptic seizure caused fatal crash that killed Travis Selje, lawyer argues in final submissions

TEASER
WATCH: Surrey-made anti-bullying video urges youth to #BlockEmDontShareEm

“Break the chain by deleting the image and never forwarding – not even to a best friend’

File photo by Tom Zytaruk
Surrey 2021 tree sale begins Friday

City of Surrey says it’s selling quality trees for $20 each

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

A woman boards a transit bus through rear doors, in Vancouver, on Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
TransLink slow to reveal crucial details about ransomware attack, says union

Union says company took months to admit what info was stolen, including SIN and bank account details

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Most Read