Yes, your listing CAN be hijacked to Trulia! Sad but true.

By
Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties Licensed in Connecticut
https://activerain.com/droplet/4zTD

If you thought your listings were safe on Trulia, think again. As a matter of fact both Trulia and Zillow are open to hijacked listings being placed there.

I wrote about this the other day, you can read it here. Hijacked to Craigslist, I get, but TO Trulia? Really?

My MLS no longer uses ListHub, the feeds are loaded to Trulia and Zillow directly by my company. That is actually irrelevant, in my humble opinion. What is relevant to me is that our listings should be safe on the big 3, and they are not. (I cannot answer for the safety of Realtor.com, I can only tell you that on both Trulia and Zillow there are sections devoted to cautioning people searching for rentals.)

I got help from Robert Freeman of Pro Real Estate Marketing, who read my post on Google+. (Thank you Robert!) He found the SECOND fake listing and requested more information via email on Saturday. At the end of the email is what he received back from the scammer. (I called the number listed also, it is a Google Voice number and no one responded to my message for more information)

I have a bit more time to wait before Trulia opens their customer service lines. I have already flagged the SECOND listing as fake, and it was removed. However I think these people put them up only for a day or two. The only thing I could think of to do until I could actually speak to a Trulia person was to cancel the listing, with my clients consent of course. I also have put it back into draft mode with Realbird. We will decide today how to proceed based on what I find out and what my company attorney finds out. 

There has to be a better way to protect our clients, and I firmly believe that Zillow and Trulia need to address this asap. They are NOT a Craigslist, they are a well known, huge corporation that people use on a regular basis, a company that asks money of us to become "pros".

And please, have customer service reps available on the weekends. Even if it is only the fraud department. This is very serious to me, to my client and to the tenant that currently resides in the unit. I believe they make enough money to remain open during the weekend hours. Real estate doesn't sleep, and their end users don't take the weekends off. 

The National Association of REALTORS has put up a video on what we need to do to protect our listings and what to do about it. This will now have to be part of the listing process. 

 

Below is the email received. I removed is the name at the end of the email because they actually used my clients father's name. Fluke or not, I don't know. I also removed the hyperlink they put in there. 

Hello 
 
How are you and your family doing? I really hope i am not getting back to you very late about the house you want to rent, I had to leave the state in a hurry due to my recent promotion and it involves me working out of the state sometimes,so i am currently in Fairmont WV with my family. I got promoted due to the fact that i was really effective in helping out during the time of the hurricanes that affected most part of our beloved country. We intend selling the house out rightly if we find a potential Tenant that would want to buy, but right now we are going to concentrate mainly on renting the house on a month to month bases and if we find a tenant who is ready and capable of doing a lease to own after a year of living in the house we would be highly interested also. To be honest with you we are new in all this because this is the first time we are having to rent out our house personally. We tried using a Realtor but found out the Realtor made the rent and deposit too high for the aspiring tenant so you may notice the renting is different in amount to the one earlier posted by my former Realtor,that is the reason why i had to post the house personally with the exact price i know it is suitable for my home. We have made the monthly rent significantly low and affordable and we are also flexible to different ideas the prospective tenant would want to take to payoff the rent and security deposit that would not make the tenant feel renting my home involves lots of money .  I am currently working as a counselor and also relief supervisor for the United States Aid for International Development (US-AID) here in Fairmont WV Please visit http://www.usaid.gov/, and see all the good work we are doing for the country and the world in general. You can also support our mission.I guess by now you should be eager to view the house because it is a lovely home and perfect for every family. So far, we have seen a couple of interested families but we shall rent to the best tenant according to our choice and the specified tenant renting code. The rent is $1000 while the security deposit is $600. The house is ready for immediate move-in and also future move-in.
 
 UTILITIES ARE ALREADY INCLUDED IN THE RENT AND WITH OPTION OF 6 MONTHS TO A YEAR WITH OPTION OF LEASE TO OWN OR MONTH TO MONTH.  Here is the address to my lovely home 4 Aspetuck Vlg, New Milford CT Please read my e-mail carefully before replying to the mail.
 
Thanks and God Bless you.

 

 

Posted by

Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County Real Estate

2017 President, Greater New Milford Board of Realtors

2017 Connecticut Magazine 5 Star Realtor

 

 Search homes for sale in Litchfield County, CT.

 

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Litchfield County Regional Office,375 Danbury Rd, New Milford, CT 06776

 

© Andrea Swiedler 2009 - 2017

 Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. - Mark Twain

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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Mary Stewart 03/16/2015 02:07 AM
  2. Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807 03/17/2015 02:51 PM
  3. Praful Thakkar 03/17/2015 09:00 PM
Topic:
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"Whacked"!!!
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Tags:
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listing scams
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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
3,502,334
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Andrea... I couldn't agree more. I am on the Agent Advisory Board for Trulia. Had to miss the meeting the other week as I was at RE/MAX annual meeting then, but will bring up this subject at the next board meeting.

Mar 16, 2015 09:24 PM #40
Ambassador
1,042,981
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Oh Nina Hollander I actually have the ear of someone that has the ear... I hope they get how important it is. If they cannot prevent it (which I think they really need to work on) then be there for us to take care of it asap. Thanks!

Mar 16, 2015 09:28 PM #41
Rainmaker
1,058,748
Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

I'm glad to see Realtor.com advertising that they are truly the only legitimate real estate site out there. The other sites seem to be riddled with innaccuacies and sometimes downright fraud.

Mar 16, 2015 11:44 PM #42
Rainmaker
705,943
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

Andrea Swiedler , thank you for sharing this. That NAR video was very helpful, thank you. I have taken the steps recommended.

Mar 17, 2015 12:20 AM #43
Rainmaker
846,226
Barbara Altieri
Kinard Realty Group Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Andrea -- Thanks for the heads up. I did not know this was happening on Trulia!! The tips in the video are excellent. Best to be proactive and vigilant with all this nonsense going on and sure to get worse.  I have already forwarded it to my broker and managers. Thanks again.

Mar 17, 2015 01:54 AM #44
Ambassador
1,042,981
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Richard Bazinet /MBA I think that is a smart thing to do, be proactive! And you are welcome.

Barbara Altieri I agree with you, and I also forwarded to my office leader. Thankns!

Mar 17, 2015 01:57 AM #45
Rainmaker
1,619,880
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

Trulia is the absolute WORST for calling you back on these problems. I had something like this but with CL a few months ago. A company was marketing the entire listing bank of my office claiming they were the LO. All I can think is they wanted leads & didn't want to pay for an IDX but either way it was alot of work to steal all pics & load them. Makes you wonder.

Mar 17, 2015 03:35 AM #46
Rainmaker
573,631
Eric Kodner
Madeline Island Realty - La Pointe, WI
CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -

Agents and brokerages should demand accountability from these aggregators who place so little value on the safety and integrity of our listings. State and Federal consumer protection agencies need to get involved as well.  

There are people reading this blog who are helping to keep the "big three" in business and they need to wake up.  

Mar 17, 2015 04:55 AM #47
Rainmaker
879,954
Janis Borgueta
Key Properties of the Hudson Valley - Newburgh, NY
LIC RE Salesperson

Bottom line is .... they just don't care!  They have all sorts of disclaimers and fancy lawyers to protect their interests and their $$$. No way no how are the interested in making it a priority, or it would have already been corrected. This has been going on for quite some time. When you do get that rep on the phone be prepared for a rather useless conversation. Been there done that. Seems to be just one more aspect of making our lives miserablem Andrea Swiedler 

Mar 17, 2015 05:00 AM #48
Rainmaker
570,370
Christine Smith
Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com - Canton, MA
Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA

Yet somehow when they want to sell you advertising they are suddenly available to talk on the phone!!

Mar 17, 2015 05:31 AM #49
Rainmaker
2,782,198
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Like Jill mentioned in her comment #23, I had no idea this was occuring.  I knew about issues with Craig's List, but not T and Z. 

Mar 17, 2015 12:00 PM #50
Rainmaker
822,229
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate www.ChandlerRealEstate.weebly.com - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Andrea - Yes this is serious stuff, and Zillow, Trulia and Craigslist should be doing everything they can to wipe out these fraudulent listings. Thank you for sharing this information.

Mar 17, 2015 02:28 PM #51
Ambassador
4,763,031
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Thanks for the warning Andrea, it seems like there is a scammer waiting to take advantage everywhere we go.

Mar 17, 2015 04:00 PM #52
Rainmaker
404,983
James Guido
eXp Realty - San Clemente, CA
REALTOR, Broker Associate, South Orange County CA

I believe iti is very important to seperate Realtor.com, the most reliable, accurate, timley, and most connected site to our listings. The only way a listing gets on Realtor.com is through the MLS that WE use to enter our listings. Putting Realtor.com in the same group as Zillow and Trulia is a huge mistake. They are not even close as people who aren't even Realtors can add listings to Zillow; they accept FSBO's!

I believe we can get rid of Zillow and Trulia. If they are gone then clients will find the necessary information elsewhere. As I said they will find listings on our own websites, our company's websites, or on Realtor.com. Why do we give buyers so many options? They aren't necessary. I am going to do everything I can to convince my association's elected officers, my MLS provider, and anyone else who will listen to stop selling our listing data to Zillow and Trulia.

You can see what a hot topic this is. It's time for a change!

Mar 17, 2015 04:23 PM #53
Rainer
274,987
Caroline Gerardo
Sun West Mortgage Corporation - Newport Beach, CA
C. G. Barbeau the Loan Lady nmls 324982

Criminals will keep popping up with new scams - sad

Mar 20, 2015 04:45 AM #54
Ambassador
2,962,687
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Wonder how great the world could be if people who think that stuff up would do good stuff instead?

Mar 21, 2015 05:56 AM #55
Rainmaker
304,455
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster
Maricopa Real Estate Co - Maricopa, AZ
A Maricopa Agent who Works, Lives & Loves Maricopa

This is crazy how people do this. I have had one of my listings highjacked and one that my buyer had an offer on. If these scammers put as much energy into good as they do bad they would be very successful.  lol

Mar 21, 2015 10:25 AM #56
Ambassador
1,042,981
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

I'm sorry, this post got away from me. I lost my internet connection at home for a few days.... anyway, I'm reading the latest comments and appreciate them, thank you!

Mar 23, 2015 03:59 AM #57
Ambassador
2,359,494
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Las Vegas, NV

Hello Andrea and you post sure got a lot if Attention, great post my friend ;o)

Mar 24, 2015 01:51 PM #58
Rainmaker
509,421
C. Lloyd McKenzie
Albuquerque, NM
Living Albuquerque

Good Evening Andrea,

Excellent Post...Things aren't always as they appear..Now Let's think about this, we are talking Multi-billion dollar piublicly traded companies.  Is it out of the realm of possibilities that those perpetrating these acts, bay be proxies of any of the aforementioned companies

Mar 26, 2015 02:42 PM #59
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