News & Information: Risk Management Resource

Keeping Tabs

Wednesday, October 23, 2013  
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Catch scammers at their own game by creating alerts and recipes that track your listing's online activity

By Nydia Marrero

There’s nothing more frustrating than realizing that your hard-earned new listing has been hijacked by an unscrupulous, tech-savvy hacker. The good news is that there are several actions that listing agents can take to protect both sellers and the general public. In fact, the National Association of REALTORS® has posted a very useful video demonstrating how to prevent this matter.

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One of the easiest ways to catch wind of an online scam is to create a "Google Alert” for the subject property address. You can do this by going to or typing "Google Alerts” in your favorite search engine.

Under the "Google Alert” page enter the property address in the search query line. For best results, select the following from the drop down options:

  • Result type: Everything
  • How often: Once a day
  • How many: All results
  • Deliver to: Your e-mail address

Once you’ve finished making your selections, click on: "CREATE ALERT.” You will begin receiving an e-mail with links to any type of published online content that references the listing address, and you can then begin to monitor all activity related to your seller’s property.

Another common scam threat comes from Craigslist. You can monitor Craigslist activity by creating an alert on the independent website If This, Then That (IFTTT).

Once you set up a free account on IFTTT, you create a "recipe” using your property listing address. Follow these steps:

  1. Select "Craiglist” from the IFTTT site.
  2. Go to and run a search for the property address.
  3. Copy the link for that search.4. Go back to the IFTTT site, paste the link, and select "create trigger.”

You have now created an alert that will notify you by e-mail of any activity related to the property address on the Craigslist site

Online scams are considered to be Internet fraud by the FBI, and you can file a complaint through its Internet Crime You can file a complaint with the FBI through its Internet Crime Complaint Center. Agents beware!

Nydia Marrero, Goodwill Realty, LLC, is a member of the ORRA Risk Management Subcommittee. She can be reached at



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