Video: Spotting Scam Emails

February 21, 2019

Email fraudsters understand the power of relationships. That’s why they may use your relationships, including your membership in the National Association of REALTORS® and your state and local association, in emails that attempt to wrest private information from you. 

They’re looking for money, says Liz Sturrock, NAR vice president of Information Technology for NAR, and the information they have about people has become a commodity they use to get it. 

Late last year, NAR took the unusual step of sending an all-member email alert after a scammer tried to use the association's name to collect money, purportedly for a sick child. Because such incidents are always occurring, and it’s impossible to know when a scammer will strike, NAR Director of Multimedia Rob Freedman recently sat down with Sturrock to talk about how to spot email scams and keep you—and your business—safe.

When you get an email that doesn’t look quite right—maybe the association logo is missing or the grammar is poor—ask yourself, “Would this person send me this email?” Sturrock says. If you’re unsure, call the person using a number you already have or can find through a legitimate source. Never call the number listed in a suspicious email.

Sturrock also recommends checking the “from” field to see the source of the email. If it’s not from a nar.realtor or realtors.org domain, it’s not from NAR, she says. (NAR staff emails come from realtors.org.) And while you never want to click on links that could launch malware on your computer, you can hover over a link in a suspicious email and see where it leads. Again, if it purports to be from your association but doesn’t lead to a legitimate website, it’s fake.

When in doubt, Sturrock says, contact NAR or your local or state association. “We’re here to help.”

Video transcript at nar.realtor.