Smart 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:
Two glaring red flags that jump out when I see emails like this are:
- 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.
- 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 provided. ALWAYS 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.