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Be on the Lookout for Scams!
Wednesday, Sep 23, 2020 @ 04:47 PM

REALTORS® across the region have been reporting scams related to listings and rentals with increased frequency. These scams often use publicly available information and/or images of listings to steal personal information or lure unsuspecting REALTORS® or members of the public into sending funds. 

It is always best practice to treat suspicious emails or phone calls with caution and, whenever possible, to reach out directly to who the email/call is claiming to be from to verify their identity. Do not click links in suspicious looking emails, and do not provide wire information over email.

Please share this information with your clients, as it will be helpful to them as well.

Here are some of the recent scams we’ve heard reports of:

Craigslist Rental Scams: The Craigslist rental scam has returned. The basics of this scam involve fraudsters using images of real rental or sale listings in fraudulent listings for rent, posing as rental agents in order to deceive unsuspecting members of the public into sending funds for a rental which does not exist. If you see a fake version of one of your listings pop up on Craigslist, report the listing to Craigslist, contact the proper authorities and inform your sellers (or tenants) right away.

Utility Scams: This scam involves fraudsters calling the listing agent of newly listed properties, pretending to be from the utility company and claiming that there are unpaid bills on the property and threatening shut-offs. The goal of this scam is to deceive the REALTOR® into sending funds to settle an outstanding bill which does not exist. Should you encounter this scam, do not provide payment information and alert your seller immediately. It is also recommended that you report the scam to the utility company.

EDD Card Fraud: There are increasing reports of fraudsters using the addresses of homes for sale in the LA region to fraudulently obtain debit cards issued by the state Employment Development Department (EDD). The scammers list a listing’s address as their own in the hopes that they can retrieve the fraudulently obtained EDD card from the mailbox. Real estate listings are often used as there is the likelihood of the home being vacant. If you find an EDD card that you did not apply for, return the card to the EDD and alert them of the fraud.

Email Spoofing: Sophisticated fraudsters have been known to spoof (fake) the identities of brokerage leadership in order to coerce agents in to buying gift cards, ostensibly as a favor for brokerage leadership but in reality, for the scammers to use at their discretion. If you receive a suspicious email from someone you work with asking for money or favors, contact the person who the email purports to be from directly (preferably by phone) to check the legitimacy of the request. DO NOT click any links in suspicious emails.

Let us know if you are having any issues.
We'll respond accordingly.