(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

A sign encouraging COVID-19 safety steps, with the Bayside rugby clubhouse – located adjacent to Semiahmoo Secondary and the South Surrey track – in background; Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo: Tracy Holmes)
Surrey sees 2,400 new COVID-19 cases in February

This is the lowest monthly increase since last fall

Federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole speaks during a virtual South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce town hall on Saturday, March 6, 2021.
O’Toole says South Surrey, White Rock face ‘acute’ challenges during pandemic

Federal Conservative leader speaks at local chamber town hall

A CVS pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Photo: Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
COVID-19 vaccination bookings start Monday for some Surrey seniors

First up is seniors aged 90-plus, and Indigenous seniors, elders aged 65-plus

Labour Minister Harry Bains addressing Surrey Board of Trade digital meeting Friday. (Screen shot)
Labour Minister says Surrey businesses’ resilience through pandemic ‘impressive’

‘Surrey’s effort in bending the curve has been among the best,’ Harry Bains says

Volunteers from Semiahmoo Secondary joined with members of the Lower Mainland Green Team and the White Rock and South Surrey Naturalists Wednesday to remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park. (Contributed photo)
Students, volunteers remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park

Day-long project a collaboration between city, Lower Mainland Green Team

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

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

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

The family of injured Willoughby resident Ronald Gerald Jesso is hoping someone saw something that will help solve the mystery of how he came to be so badly hurt on the morning of Feb. 22. Jesso is still in hospital. (Jesso family/Special to Langley Advance Times)
An appeal to help solve the mystery of an injured Langley man

Family of Ronald Gerald Jesso asks witnesses to come forward

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

B.C. RCMP Lower Mainland District officer, Asst. Commissioner Stephen Thatcher presents RCMP blankets to (from left) Chief James Hobart, Chief Maureen Chapman, Chief Derek Epp and Chief Mark Point. (RCMP)
Historic agreement significantly expands Indigenous role in Lower Mainland policing

Community Safety Agreement builds relationship of ‘trust, communication and prevention,’ says Chief

Most Read