It happened at about 9 a.m., at the Hawthorne at the Parkway complex in Cary.
Police said the woman reported that a man who had been behind her in traffic followed her home, pulled up to her in the parking lot and warned her of damage to her vehicle.
After thanking him she headed to her apartment, where the same man pushed her inside as she was unlocking the door.
The suspect is described as a clean-shaven, black male, 6'1", weighing 200 pounds, with short black hair and green eyes, which could be contacts. He was driving a red or burgundy SUV.
"Obviously, we take a crime like this very seriously," said Cary Police Capt. Don Hamilton. "For the victim in this, I can't even imagine how badly she's feeling, how scared. We want to catch this guy and get him off the streets as soon as we can."
Anyone with information is asked to call the Town of Cary Police Department at (919) 469-4012 or Cary Crime Stoppers at (919) 460-4636.