With the ease of being able to create a “company” online – buy domain, get quick or free hosting for basic template website, have email account forward to another, get a popup or “executive suite” type of address aka, PO Box and use your cellphone – scams are easy. Hear that? They are EASY to pull off if you are prone to the weasel, scumbag genes.

The rest of us need to know how to recognize scam companies, especially those that don’t rely on you showing up in person – Brick and Mortar businesses. My advice? Take 5 minutes to check them out BEFORE you give them your information. Google and other search engines make it pretty easy.

NRBA President, Michael Krein posted a video to his members and then decided to make it public to give EVERYONE more information on how to prevent being scammed. It’s geared toward real estate professionals, but it applies to ALL of us. He has some great points. I take exception to two of them, “A crappy WordPress site that a 12-year-old could make…” As we all know there is WordPress and there is WORDPRESS. He meant a stock free type of site you get from companies like VistaPrint as a purchase bonus, WIX and others that are free or cheap, and are a few clicks and images from being live. The other is on the topic of contact forms. Some sites use contact forms exclusively to feed into their CRM, email marketing, etc. to not waste a lead. BUT those sites also need to have a staff or team directory. What are they hiding? If they only have a PO Box, what are they hiding? I understand small business owners like me that are able to work from home, but it’s pretty easy to check up on these companies through social media, staff list on LinkedIn and more. Look for stock people photos. That’s a common one – fake photos with generic emails: sales@, marketing@. Be careful and do your 5-15 minutes of homework to avoid a scam.

More tips from Mike Krein here:

This is a HUGELY irritating issue that is becoming more prevalent. Scammers claiming to give you REO listings for a membership fee and more scams.

  • 00:00:43 – NRBA members have been taught how to spot scams.
  • 00:01:15 – How do scams survive?
  • 00:01:30 – Be careful who you mention if you run across a scam. They may actually be able to sue you.
  • 00:02:28 – Give Mike a call if you suspect one.
  • 00:02:50 – How to spot a scam: 1. Money up front. No legitimate company will charge you an app fee or to be added to their database.
  • 00:03:30 – Google the company – look for message boards and reviews about the company – check those reviews to make sure they aren’t fake – are the resources reliable?
  • 00:04:10 – REO message boards contain a lot of whining, but they also whine about scammers.
  • 00:04:25 – NRBA members have access to an approved client list that is updated daily.
  • 00:05:00 – look at their website – this is the best tell. Check domain name registration to see how recent. Scam companies are pretty new.
  • 00:05:45 – Just because they list a bunch of logos, doesn’t mean they have relationships with those companies. Many o
  • 00:06:00 – Should have a legitimate list of employees, bios, photos and individual emails.
  • 00:06:30 – Contact forms only and no real email – all “contact@, info@, REO@” probably a scam site.
  • 00:07:00 – Google the office address on the site. Where is it? A house? PO Box? Still need a physical address.
  • 00:08:00 – Have a local friend DRIVE BY the address.
  • 00:08:16 – Legitimate companies have real people answering the phone – not an answering service or voicemail. Individuals, perhaps, but someone should answer the main line during regular hours.
  • 00:08:50 – If they leave you a number, try to TEXT the number to see if their “main” number is a cellphone. If it goes through, it’s most likely a cellphone and not legitimate.
  • 00:09:30 – Look at the company name. If it has REO in the name, the bulk do NOT have this in the name – Foreclosure, shortsale, REO are viewed as negative terms.
  • 00:10:15 – Names may be similar to familiar company names – verify it’s really them.
  • 00:10:45 – If they list staff, you should recognize a lot of the names. NRBA members know the bulk of these folks. People in this incestuous industry stay in it – they just move around. Give them a call and reconnect to verify they have moved to that company. Great way to open a conversation. If you don’t recognize anyone – red flag! Check them out on LinkedIn – they should have legitimate profiles.
  • 00:12:10 – the scammers have gotten smarter. They know the terminology, buzz terms and more. They know the patter.
  • 00:12:30 – they will give you a property address of a property in foreclosure to ask you to do a BPO. Be careful.
  • 00:13:15 – The money back guarantee is crazy. What asset manager can guarantee you ANYTHING. Very few know what’s coming up. “Oh we have stuff in your area..” ask them HOW they know this.
  • 00:14:40 – variations – guaranteed assignment with money-back guarantee. Sure, they give you a $50 BPO order and they’ve met their obligation. $300 to “join” – $50 BPO – they net $250.
  • 00:15:38 – If you are unsure, ask the NRBA – better yet JOIN the NRBA to always know. Legitimate clients are listed on the NRBA site for members only to access. If they aren’t on the list, well, there’s your answer. We won’t badmouth anyone.
  • 00:16:50 – A sucker born every minute. New agents just don’t know better.
  • 00:17:00 – why do they do it? They are scumbags and make money being scumbags.
  • 00:17:40 – NRBA members have the skills and knowledge to set this up, but they lack the scumbag requirement.
  • 00:18:00 – You can send to a list of 1 million for a couple of thousand. Think about it. If you get 1:20 or 1:100 – that’s still a ton of money and very profitable. That’s why they do it. Scums.
  • 00:18:50 – because there is another wave of REO coming, it’s a great scenario for this scam.
  • 00:19:40 – There will be a lot more coming during this next wave, be on alert.
  • 00:20:00 – Let’s shut these people down!