An Aventura real estate agent says she was the victim of an Internet hoax that almost stained her career and reputation, The Real Deal has learned.
In September 2013, Corrine Smiley received a call from one of her colleagues asking why she sent an e-mail to fellow co-workers suggesting she would provide “French maid cleaning services.” At the time, Smiley worked as a leasing agent for Sunny Isles Beach-based Optimar International Realty. She is now employed by Related ISG International Realty.
“I was flabbergasted,” Smiley told TRD. “I didn’t send the e-mail.”
Smiley searched for her name on Google and discovered an unknown person created a website, along with fake social media accounts, claiming she was also an exotic dancer in addition to showing properties, she said. Smiley was almost fired from her position at Optimar, but she was able to prove to her employers that the accounts and website were not hers, she alleged.
“I have no idea who would do this to me,” Smiley said. “But it was devastating.”
Optimar notified its agents about the hoax after Smiley brought it to the company’s attention, according to Cristina Lopez, the firm’s office manager.
“We showed a lot of support during the process,” Lopez said. “Furthermore, we sent an e-mail to all of our agents and employees telling them that Ms. Smiley was a victim of a hacker and none of what was said was true.”
Lopez downplayed Smiley’s assertion that she was at risk of being terminated over the incident.
Smiley quit Optimar shortly after the incident, but that was not initiated by the company, according to Lopez. Related ISG broker Debbie Golden, Smiley’s current boss, did not respond to multiple voicemail messages seeking comment.
The cyber-attacker launched a Twitter account under the name “@corrine_smiley” and included the following biography: “I’m a Realtor and a sexy exotic dancer in Miami. My real estate clients get a free dance and a little surprise.”
The real Smiley uses the Twitter handle “@LoveeCorrine” and on Sept. 23, 2013, she tweeted at her social media doppelganger: “You’re a loser. Keep hiding behind the computer. You have no life. Fake pages/websites #LOSER.”
Smiley said her anonymous tormenter also created a fake website using her name, paying for it with a pre-paid debit card. The website claimed she danced at Tootsie’s Cabaret, a gentleman’s club in Miami Gardens.
“I have never worked at Tootsie’s” Smiley said. “And I have never been a stripper.”
Smiley filed a report with the Hollywood Police Department in October 2013, alleging an unknown individual used her name and photo on websites without her authorization. At the time of the report filing, Smiley discovered some of the alleged fraud originated in Hollywood.
The department looked into it, but officials told TRD the case is currently inactive. That means detectives are not investigating the claim unless new information is brought forward.
Smiley, who has modeled in the past and is currently studying communications at Florida International University, said it took weeks to scrub the damaging website and social media accounts from the Internet.
“I had to contact Twitter’s fraud department and prove it wasn’t me,” she said. “Whoever did this was malicious. They took a lot of time and did their homework to try and hurt me.”