When you market your business online, as many real estate professionals do, your contact information is available to a wide audience of consumers, and occasional bad actors looking to scam vulnerable people. To stay safe online, always take caution when following up with online leads or email inquiries. Below are some tips to help you spot suspicious emails.
Does It Feel Fishy?
Trust your gut, if an email doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t.
Do not open the email, click links, or call numbers in the email until you verify it is legitimate. Never provide personal details via email.
Who is the Sender?
Look at the sender’s email address, not just the name. Names are easy to spoof. Watch for red flags in the email address like typos, misplaced periods, or strange email domains.
If the email claims to be from someone you know, reach out to them by phone to verify if they sent the message.
Who Initiated the Contact?
Banks, credit card companies, and title companies will never send you a link requiring your credentials without you initiating contact.
What are They Asking?
If the email is requesting sensitive information, including but not limited to your social security number, banking information, or wiring instructions, be alert. Wire fraud is a common threat in the real estate industry. Never send personal information via email, and do not follow wiring instructions sent via email.
Should I call?
If you get an email that doesn’t look right, do not call the phone number in the email. Find the sender’s phone number through a different avenue, like the company’s website, and call it.
You may also search for the phone number using reverse lookup. If it is a known spam phone number, you may see a Robocaller label or warning.
Pro Tip: For added protection against spam phone calls, consider adding your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry.
How Do I Stop It?
Do not unsubscribe from an unsolicited message. This only validates the email address is live and will increase the number of messages.
Instead, ask your email administrator to block the email address. Many email platforms, like Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook, also allow you to block senders.
For additional information and tips to avoid falling into spam email traps, check out these articles:
- How to Recognize and Avoid Phishing Scams – Federal Trade Commission
- Top 10 Tips on Spam Emails – Aston University