BBB warns of scam targeting real estate agents and brokerages

watchyourstepThe August/September issue of Commonwealth featured a story, “Watch Your Step,” that outlined some of the real estate scams being perpetrated on Realtors and their clients. The Better Business Bureau is now warning about yet another.

It’s a type of phishing, in which the scammer poses as — in this case — the BBB itself, warning a brokerage or agent that it is being investigated for some alleged infringement. The fake mail then demands information from the target, threatening a lawsuit if it isn’t forthcoming.

In some cases, the BBB warns, the scammer is asking for detailed financial information. In others, the e-mail contains an attachment with some kind of malware (e.g., a virus).

“We are taking an extra step this time to warn real estate agents and offices, because we haven’t previously seen one specific industry targeted like this,” said Carrie Hurt, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) in a press release.

“The fraudulent e-mails have been sent to real estate offices across the United States, from New York to Phoenix, but Clearwater, Florida, seems to be specifically targeted,” according to the BBB.

About Andrew Kantor

Andrew is VAR's editor and information manager, and -- lessee now -- a former reporter for the Roanoke Times, former technology columnist for USA Today, and a former magazine editor for a bunch of places. He hails from New York with stops in Connecticut, New Jersey, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Roanoke.
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