As an online company, we’re acutely aware of the many ways that scammers try and rip off unsuspecting victims. We’ve previously covered scams related to tenants and landlords, but there are ever-increasing ways that scammers attempt to do so.
Most recently, it’s been brought to our attention that landlords who advertise their buy-to-let online are being targeted by scammers who take the details of the property, including photos, and post under an agency name. These agencies are fake, perhaps trading under an unassuming name, but fake all the same. Landlords will usually be approached by these agencies at first, posing as tenants to get more details and perhaps even view the property, before offering their services to advertise the property. Now, by all means landlords are not obliged to advertise with just one agency (even here at Upad), but this new type of scam means landlords should be practicing due diligence on an agency that approaches them to offer advertising services. Use the following steps to verify an agency:
Do they have a website?
Do they have a trading office or high street office?
Check for reviews online, from other landlords and tenants
Are they registered as a trading company?
This is just one scam in a long list, so here’s a few tips from our Head of IT, Carl, on staying secure online:
It simply doesn’t look right. If an email looks a little off, our perhaps too good to be true, trust your instincts that it may be suspicious. If you’ve ‘won a prize’ for a competition you haven’t entered, be very wary.
Generic greetings. Phishing emails will not directly greet you by name, but rather generic names such as ‘Dear Customer’.
Links to sites asking for sensitive data. Cybercriminals can create very sophisticated and authentic looking spoof sites but ensure your address bar shows the site is secure and the website is real before entering personal information. Also be aware of ‘cybersquatting’ where criminals will purchase website name that sound similar to official sites (i.e. gOOgle.com) in the hopes someone will type in the wrong site- always check the URL is correct.
Scare tactics. Scammers will often user phrases such as ‘your account has been breached’ to trick you into revealing information you usually wouldn’t. Often there’ll be a sense of urgency too, giving you only a short amount of time ‘verify’ your account.
Poor grammar or spelling. Usually a good giveaway that an email is a scam: poor spelling, grammar or unusual syntax.
See if you can tell which of the following is genuine or fake:
Did you guess it? The first two were genuine emails and the third was a phishing email- you can tell by the poor grammar, spelling and urgency.
As an online company, Upad make sure landlords and tenants are protected by carrying out checks to confirm ownership of properties and thourough tenant referencing.