I am re-blogging this post because I believe this is valuable information, in my opinion and the video is also valuable.
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.HelloHow 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.
Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County Real Estate
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties
27 Main Street, New Milford, CT 06776
© Andrea Swiedler 2009 - 2015
Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. - Mark Twain