Realtor.com Leads Scam: How It Works
Beware of a new rip-off going around these days, which is being added to the plethora of other real estate scams that have been hitting the industry lately. This new con targets agents who invest in buying online leads from platforms like Realtor.com and Zillow, which are great in generating potential clients with ZIP code-targeted ads and preferred placement on their sites. How does the scheme work?
Scammers send emails offering one pre-qualified real estate lead as a trial for realtor.com's lead generation service. To receive the lead's full information, which includes a phone number and email address, the agent is required to pay $10.
Once the victims pay, they receive a follow-up email with an interested buyer's full phone number, email address, a preferred area where would like the house to be located, as well as the price she's willing to pay. See below the type of lead a realtor named E.J. Footer from Boulder, Colorado, received.
The journalists at Inman exposed the scam and explained how it worked.
In the article, Inman mentions how after receiving the contact Footer sent the "lead" an introductory email but got a one-sentence reply saying she was away for a few days and will connect when she's back in the city.
Meanwhile, the victim, excited about a potential sale of a $1.1M property, researched the name of the buyer and found many things that validated the authenticity of the deal. That was until he saw the same name all over the Internet listed as many other agents' "exclusive" client. Here is another screenshot of the same lead, sold to a different agent a week later:
"The lead's name, phone number, and email were consistent, but the preferred area, price range and specific listing address varied based on who the scammer was targeting", notes Inman.
In a nutshell, the scammer impersonated Realtor's administration and sent the name and the details of the lead to hundreds of real estate agents.
Realtor.com Leads Scam: How To Avoid
Realtor.com confirmed that they never request payment simultaneously with the delivery of a lead. "To check on a lead, agents can quickly log in to realtor.com and see their leads in the Dashboard, under Contacts (for agents) or Performance/Leads (all customers)," said Realtor.com's Director of Corporate Communications, Christie Farrell for Inman.
Educate yourself about 47 other powerful real estate scams HERE.
Realtor.com Leads Scam: How To Report
Warn your fellow real estate agents about this scam by sharing it using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers or any questionable real estate transactions to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
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