So I got this email today....from a Sara Williams - with a subject line, "Listing my home for sale"
My daughter's friend hired your agency a couple months ago (and I believe you as the realtor). Her home sold very quickly and I'm interested in hiring you to list our home as well.
Would you mind sending me a couple references from past clients of yours? The only concern I have is this bad review I found on realtor complaints..
I look forward to hearing back from you,
The return email address for Sara was:Â Sara Williams <email@example.com>
At first, you read the email thinking you might have a lead, but then it starts to become clear that the email is a scam. Â Click on the link and it goes to what appears to be a complaint about me - but my name is clearly taken from an old data base as I don't use my formal name like that nor have I been affiliated with the brokerage listed for many years. Anyways, if you click on the choices to either respond or erase, you are taken to a paypal page to PAY $49 or $99 dollars to respond or get the complaint removed. NO CHANCE that is happening. So I contacted the California Association of Realtors to make them aware and hopefully something can be done to shut it down. WIth responses on this blog coming from across the nation, I will also go to NAR.
I just wanted post this here to help spread the awareness that review extortion is here!
See the latest post on this scam http://www.trulia.com/blog/BeachBrokerBill/2013/01/www_realtor_complaints_com_is_out_of_control_calling_on_nar_and_re_max_to_shut_them_down
UPDATED NOTE: as of 1/14/2013 at approximately 10 am PST, the above link appears to have been taken down. YAY!! But here is the webpage itself- Â http://www.realtor-complaints.com
Â . The remove complaint tab on the webpage has been disabled as well. Such a shame as they were having a half-off special through January 15th!
ADDITIONAL UPDATE: KUDOS TO RE/MAX
for jumping on this and taking steps to protect fellow agents across the nation from this extortion scheme. If you read below, you will see not only did the scheme victimize individual agents, but it perpetrated an entire company (RE/MAX). No one is immune to internet scams and they keep getting more complicated and appearing more and more legit. The ads referred to in this blog that were on this bogus site were linked to actual RE/MAX sites - how can someone be able to tell what is real anymore?
ADDTIONAL ADDITIONAL UPDATE - well maybe I was wrong....as of 1/14/2013 1230 PST, my complaint is back up and the site seems to be operational again....however, numerous others have reported on the site as can be seen with this link -Â http://www.google.com/search?source=ig&rlz=&q=realtor-complaint.com
LATEST UPDATE - as of 1/17/2013 at 9 am, site is still up with operational ads...have to wonder why it hasn't been shut down. AND have to be concerned that someone with access to servers outside the country can set up shop like this with total impunity.
LATEST UPDATE - as of 1/24/13, the site is "dormant" as described by NAR in their brief follow-up http://speakingofrealestate.blogs.realtor.org/