The Real Deal New York

Zillow warns about swindlers targeting Premier Agent clients

Brokers are being duped into paying for fake leads
September 25, 2018 09:45AM

(Credit: Maxpixel and Inman)

Scammers posing as Zillow are targeting real estate brokers by attempting to receive money in exchange for fake leads, the listings giant said Friday.

Zillow sent emails to brokers who use Premier Agent, reminding them that Zillow does not ask for PayPal or wire-transfer details, according to Inman.

It identified multiple look-alike emails, websites and phone numbers that could dupe brokers into believing they are dealing with Zillow.

In one example, agents received a text promising a lead for a buyer called “Kelly Sawyer.” The link brings the agent to a fake Zillow page with a domain name ending in “.info” and requests payment for full contact details.

“We take fraud very seriously and have been working hard to reduce spam leads on our site,” a Zillow spokesperson said. “Please be on the lookout as well.”

A screenshot of Zillow scammers (Credit: Inman)

Online lead generation has grown in popularity across the country, with players such as Rupert Murdoch’s Move.com getting into the space. In New York, Zillow subsidiary StreetEasy launched Premier Agent last March, upending the way the city’s brokers do business.

The paid-for leads can sometimes turn out to be weak, however. In one example, The Real Deal learned that an agent called a lead who turned out to be deceased. StreetEasy has announced that it is changing the way the program works, and the company said it will now screen potential buyers before passing along live leads to buy-side agents by phone. [Inman] — David Jeans