A phishing scam is a criminal act where someone, in an attempt to commit fraud, tries to get you to give up your personal information.
Recently, Trulia has been helping our users avoid real estate scam artists, prevalent elsewhere across the Internet, who are trying to leverage Trulia's contact agent forms in attempt to defraud agents and sellers. Although we are aware only of a couple isolated attempts of this nature, and are not aware of any actual damage having occurred, we consider the safety and security of our customers and users to be of the utmost importance. We have taken immediate action to prevent such scams, but we request that our users remain vigilant in ascertaining the legitimacy of any potential business partner, and engage in all appropriate due diligence. If you do encounter any suspicious behavior, including a buyer that appears to be fraudulent, please contact Trulia's Customer Service
as soon as possible. We also wanted to take this opportunity to provide guidelines on how to spot and avoid a phishing scam. We hope you find the content useful for your business.
How to Spot & Avoid a Phishing Scam
1. If an email or phone inquiry from a buyer seems too good to be true, then chances are that it just might be.
2. Never provide any personal or financial information via email to anyone whom you don't personally know.
3. Check the background of the folks asking for help. Use search engines and other tools to verify their identity including name, phone number and email address.
4. Be wary of accepting any deposit money from people who have not physically seen the property.
5. Beware of Buyers from another country or Buyers who say they are out of the country and is ready to buy right away sight unseen.
6. If the Buyer offers to send a check that is in excess of the deposit and ask you to send them back the balance, do not respond.
7. If you get an email that says your account has been compromised or that you need to verify your bank account - always call your bank directly and do NOT provide names, passwords, or financial information in the body of an email or on a web form that you are not absolutely certain is of known source.
8. Beware if a Buyer asks you to pay for anything upfront out of pocket on his or her behalf with the promise of paying you back at closing.
9. Beware if the only way that the Buyer is willing to communicate is via email. Try to arrange for a phone call if possible.
10. Beware if the Buyer is offering all cash and a specific closing date, in particular if any of the other factors listed above are present.
Consumers should also be aware of scams from people posing to be real estate agents or landlords. So if you're looking to buy or rent make sure you take the proper precautions.
1. Always meet the agent or landlord in person and ask them for their ID including drivers license, and if they are an agent, ask for their real estate license. Make sure the person is the actual listing agent, owner or is authorized to show it. If they can't or won't meet you in person they may be a scammer.
2. Check their background. Use web search engines and other tools to verify their identity including name, phone number and email address. You want to make sure they are who they say they are.
3. Never give out your financial information until you verify whom you are dealing with.
4. Consider researching the property or properties in question via other sources and/or other agents to confirm it's actually for sale or rent.
5. Beware of LOW priced homes for sale or rent. Be cautious of giving a cash deposit until you have verified with confidence that the party with whom you aredealing with is legitimately who they say they are.
Whether you're a consumer or a real estate professional, please take the proper precautions when looking to buy, sell or rent any type of real estate. When in doubt, back out.
Again, please contact Trulia's Customer Service
directly if you receive any type of scam or phishing email.
Thanks for your help!
With the launch of MY Leads Inbox
, which is available to everyone now, you can quickly flag whether or not an email lead is spam. With your help, we can get rid of these spam/scammers.