Cosmic Cow Pie: Connecting the Dots

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When Good Marketing Opportunities Go Bad

StopSmart REALTORS® know that, in order to get new clients, you have to offer your real estate services wherever your potential clients are.  In today's marketplace, that means marketing yourself online at such places as Facebook, Twitter and Craigslist.  As these places get more popular and gain more exposure, "the bad guys" try harder to weasel their way in to your accounts via any means necessary.

Lately, several of my REALTOR® clients have told me that they have been receiving emails from someone saying they are with Craigslist.  The emails are worded something to the effect of:

Subject: Your CL account is on hold!  Case ID 1234ABC567a9

Your CL account is temporarily on hold because your post listed on 2011-2-23 12:33:00, contains a link or URL to a commercial website or auction.

Please follow the link below to remove limitation of your account:
htp:/asheville.craigslist/apa/123abc

Two glaring red flags that jump out when I see emails like this are:

  1. The email address used to send this message to my clients isn't from an @craigslist address or it is sent to "undisclosed recipients" instead of my client's email address only.
  2. When you hover over the URL they provide, it doesn't go to where it says it's supposed to or they have used a URL shortener to mask the actual website the link goes to.

If you wish to check if the claims in an email like this are correct, NEVER click on the link providedALWAYS go directly to the site referenced in the email (in this case, Craigslist) by opening up a new window and typing the correct URL.  Log in to your account and see if what they are claiming is correct.  This is also true of PayPal and your banks. 

When you receive an email like the above, send the details to Craigslist.  If you receive a suspect email from PayPal, you can email their fraud center at spoof@paypal.com.  Every bank has their own fraud center.  Make sure to forward the suspected scam email to the appropriate fraud center so they can do the follow up on it.

Despite these types of issues, Craigslist remains a great place to advertise your listings, events or open houses.  Don't be discouraged from using this online tool to market yourself and your services to potential clients.  If you need any help with any of your online marketing or other real estate services, please feel free to contact us.

Pamela Cendejas, Real Estate Virtual Assistant - Second Self Virtual Assistance: When There Isn't Enough of You to Go Around!

Comment balloon 22 commentsPamela Cendejas • February 24 2011 01:53PM

Comments

Seems these scams get more and more sophisticated

Posted by Lori Bowers, The Lori Bowers Group about 9 years ago

Craigs LIst has worked for me, but you definitely have to be careful. There are a lot of scammers out there.

Posted by Nina Gail Betancourt, Westchester County NY (North Country Sotheby's International Realty) about 9 years ago

Thanks I've seen this message in my spam folder so I ignore it, but it still makes me think. 

Posted by Janet McCarthy, Broker Associate (San Diego Homes Guide ) about 9 years ago

Too bad Craigslist doesn't always respond to removing scam ads.  We have had a rash of scam rental ads here in the last 6 months and Craigslist does nothing to help us remove them even after multiple complaints to them.

Posted by Doug Maas, Broker/Owner - REMAX Of Great Falls - MT Real Esta (RE/MAX of Great Falls) about 9 years ago

I use craigslist quite a bit for my Realtor clients.  I usually use a different e-mail address for the craigslist account than the Realtor's e-mail address.  That way I see the spam e-mails and can delete them without the Realtor having to bother with them.  Usually the e-mail address omits a letter from the craigslist.org extension.  I've seen some pretty good scam e-mails lately.

Posted by Retired from ActiveRain about 9 years ago

Hi Lori - You're right.  I'm amazed at what these people will come up with.

Posted by Pamela Cendejas, Second Self Virtual Assistance (928) 692-3235 (Second Self Virtual Assistance) about 9 years ago

Hi Nina-Gail:  Craigslist and PayPal seem to be the hottest targets for scammers.  They both have a valuable service, though.

Posted by Pamela Cendejas, Second Self Virtual Assistance (928) 692-3235 (Second Self Virtual Assistance) about 9 years ago

Hi Janet - Sounds like your spam filters are all over it.  These things get through to tons of people, though.  Otherwise, the scammers wouldn't be so persistent.  Sure wish they'd put their "talent" toward something more productive - and honest.

Posted by Pamela Cendejas, Second Self Virtual Assistance (928) 692-3235 (Second Self Virtual Assistance) about 9 years ago

That used to confuse me as well when I'd receive them.  Now I know that craigslist won't contact me other than to tell me I posted something.  Lotta people around here won't post on craigslist because of the scammers.

Posted by Wade Mattingly (WEICHERT Realtors--Bluegrass Living) about 9 years ago

Hi Doug - It really is too bad that Craigslist lets these things go on.  They're either too big or too unaffected by it.  A friend of mine answered a Craigslist rental ad only to find that the house in the ad didn't even belong to the person trying to rent it.  Crazy.

Posted by Pamela Cendejas, Second Self Virtual Assistance (928) 692-3235 (Second Self Virtual Assistance) about 9 years ago

WOW, Rick - What a great idea.  I developed a great Craigslist Plan of Action for REALTORS to promote listings, their business, etc.  The only complaint I hear about the program is the number of spam emails the agent gets from the ads. 

Posted by Pamela Cendejas, Second Self Virtual Assistance (928) 692-3235 (Second Self Virtual Assistance) about 9 years ago

Hi Wade - It's really too bad that REALTORS have decided not to use Craigslist as a marketing tool.  They have such an extensive reach.  I understand the hesitation, though.  It's a little risky if you don't know how to detect the scammers.  Hopefully, this blog will help.

Posted by Pamela Cendejas, Second Self Virtual Assistance (928) 692-3235 (Second Self Virtual Assistance) about 9 years ago

Scarryyyy...I have not advertised on Craigslist due to all these scams and safety concerns.

Posted by Ritu Desai, Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949 (Samson Properties) about 9 years ago

Pam - I've been getting the paypal stuff lately.  This is excellent information to get out ONE MORE TIME to all our AR friends.  Thanks for posting and for the reminder!

Featured in BananaTude

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten Broker, CRB, CRS, 602-380-4886 (HomeSmart International) about 9 years ago

Hi Anna - You probably got the same PayPal email I got this morning.  Gonna shut down my account until I click on the link and fill in the form.  I just forwarded it to spoof@paypal.com and hope they take action.  Since it's so prevalent, their fraud department has really got its work cut out for them.

Posted by Pamela Cendejas, Second Self Virtual Assistance (928) 692-3235 (Second Self Virtual Assistance) about 9 years ago

This is a great post, something definitely to be aware of.  Thanks for sharing...

Posted by Erika Rogers, St George Utah Real Estate & Relocation Specialist (Red Rock Real Estate ~ Southern Utah's Largest Independent Brokerage) about 9 years ago

Hi Ritu - I know what you mean.  It's really too bad that there has to be such a concern.  Craigslist really can be a great advertising tool.

Posted by Pamela Cendejas, Second Self Virtual Assistance (928) 692-3235 (Second Self Virtual Assistance) about 9 years ago

Hi Erika - Thank you for the response.  Enjoy your day!

Posted by Pamela Cendejas, Second Self Virtual Assistance (928) 692-3235 (Second Self Virtual Assistance) about 9 years ago

Pam...nothing on Craigslist, but definitely had a paypal attempt; I emailed paypal with the information [since I knew that we had not used paypal]; PP did email back that we had no outstanding account on their records. I received those notices 2X a day for over 7 days.   It was resolved, don't actually know how or who resolved.
Good points more so in these days where times are experiencing bad weather, bad economy, or bad health. That can get anyone to lose attention to emails.
Have a great Friday & weekend.

Barb

 

Posted by Barb & Sal Dragotta, Macomb County Michigan about 9 years ago

Hi Barb - PayPal has a notorious reputation for people trying to hack accounts for quite some time.  That's why many people won't use it or even have an account.  That's why it's so important to stay vigilant and know the signs of fraud.  Not easy, I know.  I've always erred on the side of caution.  When I'm not sure about whether an email was legitimate or not, I use the the tactics I mentioned above.  Great weekend to you, too!

Posted by Pamela Cendejas, Second Self Virtual Assistance (928) 692-3235 (Second Self Virtual Assistance) about 9 years ago

Pamela,

Really great points... thank you for sharing them.  Awhile back I received so many spam emails from paypal I couldn't believe it.  I was already aware of not clicking on the link so I didn't have any trouble.  I'm with you... can't they find something better to do???  Great information and post!!!

Posted by Linda D. Pufford, ASPM, Marin/Sonoma Home Stager (Stage with Divine Style - Home Staging) about 9 years ago

Hi Linda - I don't get too many spams from PayPal anymore.  But, I guess spam from Craigslist is alive and well.

Posted by Pamela Cendejas, Second Self Virtual Assistance (928) 692-3235 (Second Self Virtual Assistance) about 9 years ago

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