Everyone, I have huge news: I’m retiring from Zillow. I’ve recently come into a lot of money.
About a week ago I received a Zillow email out of nowhere from this charming woman, Ms. Helen Samule Doe, daughter of the late former Oil Minister of Gambia, Marcus Doe. She saw my apartment listing on Zillow and was so impressed by my honesty that she felt she could trust me. She wants me to invest her oil fortune in American real estate. All I have to do is open up an account and wire her cash for fees so she can deposit over $9 million dollars. She’s going to split the proceeds with me.
This is the best plan ever.
. . .
If you didn’t believe a word I said, good. Occasionally, our users report weird emails being sent to them through Zillow. They range from scenarios like the above to suspicious, out-of-nowhere offers to buy listings at outrageous prices, to even weirder stuff. All sorts of users can receive these emails, too — basically, if you have a [Contact Me] button on your profile, you may be “contacted.”
Zillow is popular — really, really popular — and like other extremely popular websites such as Craigslist, we’re targeted by fraudsters for abuse. So how do you protect yourself?
Zillow’s got a great fraud resource page – check it out. And in general, don’t provide any personal or financial information. You can report scams to the authorities and our fraud research page provides links to do so. For the most part, just listen to your own common sense. If something is too good to be true, it probably is.
– If someone whom you’ve never met or heard of emails you out of the blue through Zillow with an immediate offer for your home, chances are it’s fraud. Does that ever happen in real life? Not really.
– If someone claiming to be something incredible, like the daughter of the late Oil Minister of Gambia, wants to invest with you on the basis of your attractive home photos, chances are it’s fraud. Does that ever happen in real life? Not really.
Finally, if you’re still suspicious, use Zillow Advice as a resource. People frequently ask other forumites about suspicious emails. Odds are high that other people have received similar messages. By following all these steps, you can have safe and enjoyable time on Zillow.