We have all heard the stories of scammers “scrapping” listings, posting them on Craigslist, and offering them for rent. Then, without the knowledge of the agent, or that of the property owner, they lease the property and pocket the money. Both the owner and tenant have been scammed, but it is the owner that has to spend money to evict the tenant.
So how does one avoid a similar fate? Well there’s 3 quick and easy online tools that can be used to combat these scammers.
- Google Alert – This is great service Google provides that allows you to look for key words or phrases and see where they show up online. So by simply typing in the address of your property you will be able to see everywhere online where that address shows up. This should allow you to quickly spot red flag listings on sites such as Craigslist. You will also have the option to enter your email address and receive a notification when the address shows up anywhere new.
- If This, Then That – This is a really cool site, that will let you target specific sites, to see if your key words (Address) shows up on the internet. This is good if you post on lots of sites and don’t want to dig through them all looking for fakes. This site is the preference for many when looking for fake posting on Craigslist as they don’t always show up on Google Alert.
- Google images – Now you may be thinking how the heck can I use google images to find scam postings of my property? Well Google Images has a little know feature that lets you search the internet for a specific image much like you would anything else. So to find fake postings of your property just pull up a picture of it somewhere online (MLS, Zillow, Exc.) then drag and drop it into the Google images search bar and your search will begin!
While these 3 sites can be a great help to stopping fraud. It is also important to go over how these scams work in your listing presentation.
For a more in depth look/ step by step instructions on how to use these sites check out this Video made by the N.A.R.
Source: National Association of Realtors (Realtor.org)