Zillow Hacked? Has your listing been HACKED?
I’m sure anyone who has an email address, social media account, or has spent any time on the internet has been the victim of hackers.
These are sometimes nothing more than mischievous 12-year olds having fun at your expense, but other times these are professionals working on the dark web to hijack corporate or personal information.
In an article published in the Washington Post, writer Kenneth Harney reported that a homeowner is sueing Zillow for $60 Million Dollars because the listing on that platform had been hacked and bogus low priced sales were reported in an attempt to corrupt the list price. (Washington Post Article)
The home in question is 12 bedroom, 21 bath, 38,000 square foot mansion overlooking the ocean in Bel Air California. It’s priced at $150 Million Dollars and the owner feels that this corrupt data has prevented him from getting anywhere near the true value of the house.
On the Zillow site, homeowners can claim ownership of their listing and make changes to the information and features of their home. Unlike REALTORS who tightly control the security of YOUR information, sites like this have a lower level of protection and apparently allow hackers to infiltrate the data for their own agenda.
Traditional real estate agents input your home’s information through a Multiple Listing Service.
Things like the description, number of rooms, and features are added in a tightly controlled environment. This information is disseminated to hundreds of online site through the IDX or Internet Data Exchange system. These sites do NOT allow the homeowner to directly change this information.
On the other hand, Zillow allows homeowners to change information about their home without going through a real estate agent OR the MLS system. Through a flimsy security protocol, owners can make any changes at their whim.
So, what is the solution?
I’ve spoken about the inaccuracies of the Zestimate and how it over priced a home by One Million Dollars and NOW there is this security problem that easily allows hackers to break into your listing and manipulate the data.
At this point, you must look at the information that is presented on these sites as questionable. When you want reliable facts, consult a live real estate professional and save your smartphone battery for Pokemon Go or Candy Crush.