A number of estate agents have recently received phishing emails, fraudulently claiming to be from the main portals and trying to con them into handing over business information including login and password details.
The agents who have contacted Estate Agent Today say they have spotted the scams, either by elements of the emails appearing unlikely or unrealistic, or by them checking with their known portal representatives.
It’s not uncommon for firms with high penetration in a market and high brand awareness, to be the subject of ‘mimic’ emails which are sent to actual or likely customers.
The high penetration amongst agencies of Rightmove and Zoopla in particular make them susceptible to this kind of scam.
In recent years a number of property organisations including major portals, the Association of Residential Letting Agents, HM Land Registry and the HomeOwners’ Alliance have all been targeted with fake emails sent to members or likely members.
The advice given across the industry in the event of receiving a suspicious email, or other form of communication, is to resist opening the message and to contact by a secure method the individual or organisation sending it to check the validity.
The trade organisations or commercial bodies contacted by EAT on Friday said they never send dedicated emails or texts requesting usernames, passwords or other secure data; if agents receive such communications, be suspicious.
A tell-tale sign of suspicious emails or other communications can be in ‘frantic’ or unusual subject field titles - typically threatening a service to be suspended imminently, or requesting immediate payment.
Malicious websites quoted in communications may appear legitimate or carry familiar names of a portal or trade body, but check the ‘underlying’ website address by hovering your mouse cursor over hyperlinks.
Standard precautions include changing passwords regularly, not using the same password for multiple sites, and to give the composition of passwords some complexity though a mix of symbols, numbers and letters.
You can report suspicious communications to Action Fraud at as well as to the trade body or portal they appear to come from.