Safety Alerts

REALTOR Safety Alert Graphic

This page has an ongoing list of safety alerts for our members. Do you have a safety alert to share? Please contact BRR Director of Communications, Cassie Zimmerman, or call 208.947.7226.

Read more safety tips and find more resources in our blog post, Help Your Sellers Keep Their Homes Safe When Listed. Looking for an app to keep you safer? We’ve complied a list in our blog post, There’s an app for that

June 2019

How to deal with suspicious emails6/3/19: Two members from the same brokerage have reported that they received emails from a fraudulent sender pretending to be their broker, asking a seemly innocent question about whether they were at the office. Ironically, agents at this brokerage work remotely so this question prompted immediate suspicion. The email showed their broker’s name as the sender but the email address it was sent from was not correct. One of the members noted that “in Gmail on the phone app, it does not show the email address of the person sending the email” unless you click on their name, so at first glance the email seemed legitimate.

This is not an isolated incident as we have heard similar stories from numerous members now. Some agents have have communicated back and forth with the impostors who eventually ask them to buy gift cards, scratch off the back, and send them photos. DO NOT DO THIS! Pick up the phone and call your broker if you are in doubt.

If an email feels or looks “odd,” check the email address of the sender. If you don’t recognize it, it’s likely not legitimate. Do not respond to or click on links in suspicious emails. If you have any doubts about an email from a colleague and you feel you need to respond, start a new email using an email address you have on file for them or found independently.

You can learn more about how to recognize and avoid phishing scams in this article from the Federal Trade Commission. You can also test your knowledge on identifying phishing scams with this online quiz created by Google.

May 2019

5/8/19: We received a report from a fellow REALTOR® about some suspicious phone calls received by a number of agents in their office. A man is calling “claiming to be from various wealthy families and trying to spend his inheritance” on a home. The caller is possibly trying to setup showings or get information about properties.

Please be aware of the situation and keep safety top-of-mind when interacting with clients either in-person or over the phone. For more information on safety best practices, visit

October 2018

10/18/19: A REALTOR® member received an email that appeared to be from her broker, asking her to purchase some iTunes gift cards (possibly as a closing gift?) to give to a client of theirs that was under contract. The scammer said they were “too busy to talk by phone today” so to reply to the email with any questions. Please always be wary of any requests to purchase gift cards, as this is a common way for scammers to keep funds untraceable.

It’s also good practice to change your password if you think your email account has been compromised. For more information about email and wire fraud issues, please check out the following resources:

February 2018

2/12/18: Another case of a scammer targeting a company, this time a roofing company, was reported to BRR. The scammer originally reached out with texts and a call but resorted to communicating via email when they couldn’t text the office phone.  These emails indicate how the scammer was going to commit the fraud. The scammer asks for the bid for work or contract on a home and then asks for the contractor/company to make a payment, with the promise they will pay them back. Here is a shortened transcript of the emails, with names, emails, telephone numbers, and locations changed.

2/5/18: BRR was made aware of another local instance of this scam in which a painting contractor was asked to provide a bid. Similar to the last report, the scammer asked for the contractor’s banking information and/or credit card information in order to “coordinate payment.”

2/2/18: Please be aware, this is the THIRD local report we’ve had of a scammer contacting a contractor for a bid to have work done to a property. In this latest report, there were no phone calls — only text messages sent to the contractor asking him to provide a quote for pressure washing. The contractor went to the house, provided the bid via text message, but felt like something was off since there was a listing sign in the front yard. He notified the listing agent of the situation, who confirmed the request was not legitimate. This situation was different than the previously reported instances, because after providing the bid, the scammer asked for the contractor’s credit card and banking information, presumably to coordinate “payment”.

January 2018

UPDATED 1/26/18: Another member reported that a painting contractor received a suspicious call requesting that he provide a bid for a vacant home. When he arrived at the property, he tried to call the number back, however, no one would answer. Instead, they responded via text, saying they couldn’t communicate over the phone due to a disability (although they had called earlier). Over text, the calling party asked the contractor to look in the windows of the vacant home for them. The contractor wisely refused. This is clearly not an isolated event, please notify the contractors that you work with that this could happen to them, and advise them to ask the listing agent to find out if the bid request is legitimate.

A member notified us of suspicious phone calls being made to concrete/driveway contractors (in this case), where a male caller asks the contractors to visit a listed property and provide a quote for work to be done on the home. The caller then says he works out of state so all future communication should be done via text. The contractors were suspicious and felt like someone was baiting them to come out to the property, so they called the listing agent of the property in question, asking if this was a legitimate request from a seller or maybe a buyer. The listing agent confirmed that no work was being requested. For those of you with contractor contacts, please pass this alert on to them. If they feel a request sounds suspect, their best bet is to contact the listing agent first for confirmation.

December 2017

A local agent recently found themselves in a suspicious and possibly dangerous situation while showing a home. A potential buyer that the agent hadn’t met before contacted her by text and asked to be shown a vacant home with acreage in Middleton. The agent called the phone number but there was no answer or voicemail option. To err on the side of caution, she asked a friend to join her to the showing. 

The potential buyer texted to inform the agent they were running late and didn’t arrive at the home until after dark. When the buyer did arrive, it was in a large, white cargo van that they blocked the driveway with by parking directly in front of it. The buyer texted that they were outside, and the agent texted back, asking them to come inside. A few minutes later, the van drove off, with the potential buyer never entering the home. 

Thankfully, nothing more happened. Please be aware of the situation and keep safety top-of-mind when interacting with clients. 



Boise Regional REALTORS® has received reports of jewelry and prescription medications being taken from homes listed for sale — one at an open house, and another by a person posing as a real estate agent and requesting to preview a home without an appointment.

“In both cases, the sellers reported the incidents to local police, but we wanted to take this opportunity to remind home sellers to talk with their REALTORS® about how to keep their homes and possessions safe while on the market,” said Carey Farmer, 2016 President of Boise Regional REALTORS® and Broker Associate with Group One Sotheby’s International Realty.

Here are six tips adapted from the REALTOR® Magazine article, “The Safety Talk You Need to Have With Clients” to consider:

1. Stow away valuables. This includes everything from mail left on your kitchen counter (which may contain personal information and bank statements) to such items as jewelry, artwork, cellphones, and gaming systems. Real estate agents can’t protect valuables and likely won’t be following prospective buyers all around the house, especially during a busy open house. You should walk through your house before a showing or open house to make sure everything of value is out of sight.

2. Remove or lock up prescription medications prior to showings. Similar to removing valuables prior to a showing or open house, prescription drugs are another key item to protect.

3. Remove family photos for your safety. Many real estate agents advise sellers to remove family photos as part of the staging process, but removing photos can also help protect your family’s privacy.

4. Make your house safe for buyers and agents. Turn on the lights prior to showings — whether it’s daytime or evening — so that agents and buyers can move safely through the home. It’s important to remove obvious weapons (like guns) before showings, but also not-so-obvious weapons. For example, many homeowners may have a block of knives on their kitchen counter which should be removed for everyone’s safety.

5. Keep the house locked and consider extra security systems. Doors need to be kept locked at all times. Consider adding deadbolt locks, securing sliding glass doors with bars and extra locks, installing motion-sensor lights for outdoor areas, and check that all windows are locked securely. Look into installing a wireless security system, maybe one that alerts you if motion is detected.

6. Beware of unexpected visitors. When your house is for sale, should you get unexpected visitors at your front door and you weren’t expecting any showings, don’t let them in. This is not the proper procedure for showings. Only real estate professionals who have made an appointment and use the lockbox should gain access to your home.

As a follow-up to this last tip, if something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut. You and your REALTOR® have the right to decline any showing request. While sellers are discouraged to be home during a showing, if you do happen to be home and feel like something is not, ask the buyer’s agent and their client(s) to leave. If they do not immediately leave the house, call the police, and then contact your REALTOR®.

When returning home after a showing or an open house, don’t assume that everyone has left and that the house has been secured. Walk through the entire house, checking each room, as well as all door locks and windows – even on upper levels. If you notice anything that’s missing or possibly damaged, call your REALTOR® immediately.

“This information is certainly not meant to create fear and mistrust, or to scare homeowners away from selling, but rather to help them and their REALTORS think practically about the ways to secure homes and valuables, and to maintain everyone’s personal safety,” said Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer for BRR.

Below are links to the articles referenced and others for additional information:

“Home, Safe Home: Tips for Securing Your Home,” from
“10 Things a Burglar Doesn’t Want You to Know,” from
“The Safety Talk You Need to Have with Clients,” from

If you have questions or concerns, please contact your REALTOR®. If you don’t have a REALTOR®, find one here.