The House Is Not For Sale

She was getting flooded with calls from people wanting to buy her house. One problem, though: Her house isn’t for sale.

And then the scammer set up an open house. That’s when Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser stepped in.

It’s a nice house in a good neighborhood that a lot of people thought they could buy.

Tasha found out her house was listed for sale when her phone started ringing.

Tasha Hirsch: “All of a sudden, last Friday, I started getting texts from people interested in my house for sale.”

One little problem: Tasha had not listed her home for sale.

Tasha Hirsch: “So I put in my address and Googled it, and it was listed on Zillow for $352,000.”

There was the listing on Zillow: Tasha’s house on the water worth around $600,000 for $352,000, followed by Tasha’s phone number.

Tasha Hirsch: “Just this morning I have gotten six more calls, and they come at night, they come in the morning.”

Since Tasha is in the alarm business, she has to answer every call in case it’s one of her customers.

As the realtors and investors kept calling, Tasha tried to remove the listing, but she can’t access the crook’s account.

Tasha Hirsch: “Unable to edit the listing, so I contacted Zillow, and the only way you can do that is online, which I did, and I got no response.”

Tasha Hirsch (on the phone): “The house is not for sale.”

Then it went from aggravating to alarming when this showed up on the listing.

Tasha Hirsch: “Furthermore, there is an open house listed at the end of this month, and I am worried I am going to get all these people showing up.”

If this posting is done by a scammer, they are doing it to make money. Tasha knows what that means.

Tasha Hirsch: “It is frightening. I am afraid someone is going to show up here because they are mad that they put a deposit down, and it doesn’t matter what I tell them. They are going to associate me with this.”

The views keep piling up, Tasha’s phone keeps ringing, the open house is coming. Who knows what will happen next?

Tasha Hirsch: “I wanna get this taken down immediately. It’s not only stopping the phone calls, but as this continues, I am getting more scared of what’s going to happen.”

Well, Howard, legally what can Tasha do?

Howard Finkelstein: “Well, Zillow will want to take it down because a false listing hurts their reputation. But this may surprise you, if Zillow doesn’t take the phony listing down they are not to blame for any damage it may cause. The reason: Congress determined that owners of interactive computer services like Facebook or Zillow are not responsible for what a third party puts on their site.”

I contacted Zillow about the phony listing, and I think they broke a record.

Within half an hour, the problem was solved.

A spokesman wrote, “After looking into the listing, we took steps to remove it and blocked the account who did it.”

Tasha Hirsch: “The calls have stopped.”

Her phone is quiet, her house is not for sale, just what Tasha wanted.

Tasha Hirsch: “Thank you, Patrick. Thank you, Help Me Howard. It was amazing. Within hours of you leaving, it was taken care of.”

Thank you, Tasha, and thank you Zillow for moving so quickly. Why would someone post a phony listing? Unless it’s a prankster, it doesn’t make sense. With no way to contact the person who posted it, there doesn’t seem to be a way for a scammer to make money. If you know what’s going on, let us know.

Being sold a problem you just don’t buy? Ready to list it with us? Contact us, ’cause we love to hear our phone ring.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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