David Saks: W A R N I N G !!! DON'T FALL PREY TO SCAM REALTOR COMPLAINT SITE

David Saks - Real Estate Broker - The Real Estate Mart of Tennessee, Inc. - 4040 North Watkins-Suite #4 - Memphis, Tennessee 38127 - Phone (901) 357-4663

W A R N I N G !!! DON'T FALL PREY TO SCAM REALTOR COMPLAINT SITE

Don't Fall Prey to Scam Realtor Complaint Site

Web site of suspicious origin and reportedly misusing the REALTOR® trademark in what seems to be an attempt to get money from real estate practitioners.

The site, http://Realtor-complaints.com, supposedly publishes consumer complaints about real estate agents. However, an investigation by the New Jersey association of REALTORS® showed a string of complaints against its members, all using similar phrasing. “This leads to suspicion that these are not all public-submitted complaints,” says Lauren Castellano, director of communications for the New Jersey Association of REALTORS®.

Not only that, when agents who have been the subject of a complaint attempt to make contact, the site offers them the “opportunity” to pay to have the complaint and their name removed from the site, says Michael Thiel, an attorney for the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. NAR legal staff checked the WHOIS record for the site and discovered it’s hosted on servers located in the Seychelles. “It’s recorded as having been initially registered on Jan. 1, 2013,” Thiel says, ”which makes the site’s claim of having been around since 2002 very suspect.”

Thiel’s office has received a number of calls from members who’ve been informed, via e-mail, that their name is listed at the site. NAR attorneys are investigating and, if necessary, will take steps to have the site shut down. But it’s important to approach with caution any service that claims to either track or burnish your reputation. Online reputation management—and reputation trashing—is a growing enterprise, and there are simple steps you can take to manage your own reputation online:

•  Make sure all of your profiles (on social media sites, at REALTOR.com, and so on) are complete, up to date, and consistent.

•  Be proactive in asking customers for reviews in legitimate forums, such as Yelp and LinkedIn.

•  Search Google and Yahoo for your name and your company’s name. Save each search as a browser favorite and check them daily.

•  Sign up for Google Alerts so that you’re notified when your name appears in a search. Also set up alerts for variations of your name, your company name, and other keywords.

•  Ask your customers where they’ve gone to search for information about real estate and other professionals.

•  Correct errors quickly. Immediately contact the Web site and be willing to prove your case with information from your MLS or other sources. But don’t be tempted to pay to have information removed. “It’s hard to imagine a legitimate site requiring you to pay to take down false information,” Thiel says.

This important information was forwared to me by friend, real estate leader and educator Jim Gibbs : The Career Institute




David Saks



Time&Temp Memphis

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Comment balloon 8 commentsDavid Saks • January 21 2013 08:02AM

Comments

That sounds like a scam, if someone has to pay to have a bad review removed, the first question is: what is the integrity of this site? To make money off fearful Realtors® or to provide genuine reviews to help the public? Thanks for the post and warning,

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 7 years ago

It's probably a phishing scam, Pamela. luring agents to reveal personal details and credit card information on a fake web page pretending to come from a legitimate company. Agent licensing data is accessible and it appears as though they're fraudulently manipulating public records to look like bogus complaint claims. 

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 7 years ago

Just saw this on t.v. this weekend. It is sad that people would do something like that to others. Making a website just to scam money out of hard working people is a shame.

Posted by Randy Bocook, Selling Coastal Georgia (Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners) over 7 years ago

Yes, sad that there are people out there who don't put their talents to a good use!

Posted by David Harper, Homes For Rent (Florida Management and Consulting Group Inc.) over 7 years ago
Thank you for sharing the info David!
Posted by Wika Hutchinson, Broker, CRIS, SFR, CDPE over 7 years ago

The fraudfest never ends for the slimeballs, Randy. Thanks for your comment.

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 7 years ago

I doubt that the people who created that site have any talents other than being talented swindlers, David. Thanks for the thoughts.

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 7 years ago

Most welcome, Wika. Pass it on. Thanks for chiming in.

Posted by David Saks ((retired)) over 7 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments