Latest Zillow scam lists multi-million dollar home in Jacksonville for $21,000

A Jacksonville home worth an estimated $2.3 million was listed on Zillow for $21,000 less than a day ago, bringing the northeast Florida housing market into this latest trend to scam.

After this story was initially published, the listing was taken down on Tuesday afternoon. It had been up for nearly 20 hours with over 1,000 views and around 100 saves.

The property on Pine Street in Avondale includes a five-bedroom, five-bathroom home with over 5,700 square feet for $21,000 – although the description says “$21,000” is a typo and the “ true” list price is “$22,000” for cash payment. -only, first-time buyer. Zillow’s estimate for the home’s value is around $2.3 million, and it last sold in October 2021 for around $1.9 million.

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The property’s “too good to be true” price is a notable red flag of an ongoing scam, but the description and listing preview solidifies the fraud.

“I am selling my house at a low price as my family owns many properties across the country,” the listing reads. “A few times a year we sell one or a few of our homes to first time buyers for less than $50,000. This is done as a tax rite for us, and to bless a family or individual in need, and as a first time buyer, may not be able to secure a home otherwise.”

The listing explicitly warned those depicted — such as real estate agents, lenders, investors and lawyers — not to contact the “seller.” He also excluded anyone who had ever owned a home.

He also claimed that the house was occupied by tenants until July 24 and that the “tenants” should not be disturbed – which is partially true. Owners Jan and John Hirabayashi, who is the president and CEO of Community First Credit Union, didn’t want to be bothered by someone claiming to sell their property.

To top it off, the ad required a $2,000 cash deposit via Zelle wire transfer in order to schedule a time — at least six days in advance — for “potential buyers” to view the home. A home visit also required an email signature, photo ID and email address, and each step in the process was highlighted as “non-negotiable”.

The scammers’ apparent goal is to rack up deposits of $2,000 using photographs of a home’s previous listing. Properties listed with this scam pattern are not for sale.

A nearly identical scam was reported last month in Raleigh, North Carolina by local news station ABC.

The Zillow website includes a page on how to avoid home sale and rental scams.

A spokesperson for Zillow said it “strives to provide a secure online platform, and we strive to monitor activity and fully inform our users of the risks of internet scams and how to protect yourself.”

The spokesperson also said that Zillow actively monitors for possible fraud or scams and promptly removes fraudulent listings, as it did with the Jacksonville on a Tuesday. The spokesperson confirmed that the account associated with this list was also blocked.

Jan Hirabayashi said a neighbor and her real estate agent informed her of the listing on Tuesday morning.

“It was a surprise, for sure,” she said. “I was confused as to how it could be listed, obviously.”

Hirabayashi reported that the listing was fraudulent, and Zillow emailed him confirmation of receipt of the report, but did not provide next steps or a timeline for removal from the listing.

During a Tuesday afternoon interview with The Times-Union about the listing, Hirabayashi said she was standing outside and noticed a car driving past to check on the house.

“It’s not for sale!” she shouted to the driver, laughing.

Hirabayashi also sent screenshots from the Duval County Real Estate Appraiser’s Office to verify the property and tried to claim the house as his own on Zillow, but couldn’t — likely because the scammer has already claimed ownership.

Hirabayashi said her husband was hosting a family reunion this weekend with around 30 people expected, and she jokingly warned their guests that the house was not for sale and they hoped the gathering would not be mistaken for a open day.

“I just hope Zillow does her thing,” she said. “I just finished furnishing it so I’m not ready to sell it yet.”

As of 1:30 p.m., the listing was removed from Zillow and accurate 2021 sales information was saved. Hirabayashi said it took her about four hours to flag the listing and see this action, though she was never notified by Zillow of the change.

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