Inman News, a real estate news service, today reported about an Internet scam that is using the Remax brand. The scam involves emails that appear to be from remax that link to a website that looks like a remax site. It tries to get visitors to enter logins and passwords for other sites.
There are more and more real estate sites that are requiring you register to before you can search for homes, or they’ll let you search a few times and then force you to register if you want to search more. Most of these are not scam sites, they are local Realtors that use what are called “lead sites”. How these sites work is that they advertise in the paid section of the search engines (the ones at the top of a search ressult, also called “Sponsered Results”. They claim to have the best website or have “all” the listings to get you to visit the site and then register. If the sites were so good, they wouldn’t need to try to grab your personal contact info the first time you visit. There are numerous companies selling lead sites to Realtors. If you scroll down to the bottom of a home page, you’ll see names like Tiger Leads, Boomtown, Zurple which are a few of the company names that offer these. These sites are not the scams that Inman News reported about but it’s these type of sites that enable scams to happen because they are forcing people to register to search.
Unfortunately, you don’t know if the registration form you are being asked to fill out is a scam or not. But it’s easy to protect yourself from these scams….just DON’T REGISTER! There are plenty of real estate search sites that don’t force you to register to search for homes and many provide a much better search experience than these other “Lead Sites” anyways.
And another bit of info…most real estate sites that have forced registration store your passwords in clear text. This means that the real estate agent who you don’t know can see the password that you entered. YIKES!