There are at least three new phishing email scams, sent in January 2014, that you should be aware of. The emails ask recipients to validate their email addresses, increase mail quota and/or verify their passwords. There is also an email made to look like a LeadStreet lead generated by remax.com. The scams are being sent from email addresses made to look like RE/MAX Technical Support, RE/MAX Technical Support Team, RE/MAX AdminTechnical Support Team and firstname.lastname@example.org addresses.
Please know that the RE/MAX Legal Department is working on taking down the phishing URLs, and that you would never receive communications from RE/MAX asking you to visit a third-party site to validate any email information. If you receive a suspicious email, do not click any of its links.
Rest assured that RE/MAX World Headquarters is aware of – and extremely vigilant in combating – scams that affect RE/MAX agents and consumers. It's something that's been monitored very closely for several years. And the RE/MAX, LLC, Legal Department makes every effort to locate the originating websites and shut them down as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, these scams are all too common. Phishing scams are not just a RE/MAX problem; they have a much broader impact, especially in the real estate industry. Because of that, a warning is provided for consumers on remax.com about the latest scams.
The best ways to combat phishing scams is to be alert in identifying them and stay informed about the most current scams.
If you receive inquiries from consumers, refer them to the information available on remax.com or recommend they send information about the possible scam to email@example.com. You can do the same if you recognize your remax.net email address has been targeted. You can also direct questions to eCare@remax.net.
Additional information regarding email dangers
Communications that appear to come from a RE/MAX agent, aren't always what they seem. Phishing scams often will attempt to catch recipients off guard, and in some cases they accomplish this by making it appear a malicious email is coming from a colleague.
If you receive emails from RE/MAX agents that appear suspicious, please trust your instincts. First search for the agent's profile in the RE/MAX Web Roster. If the agent appears there, think about giving him or her a call to verify their attempt at contacting you via email. It's a preventative measure that can save you headaches, and in extreme cases, considerable damage to your database.
"Phishing" is an attempt by spammers to gain your personal information via email with the intention of stealing your identity.
Scam emails attempt to lure victims into responding to an email or clicking on a link, usually in order to get money, install malware, or get personal information. The most common types of scams are:
Business opportunities (work-at-home schemes)
Health and diet
Easy money (foreign lotteries, advance free fraud or investment schemes)
Guaranteed loans or credit
There is also a rental scam that uses the RE/MAX name in correspondence.
Avoid phishing scams
Here are some guidelines to help you avoid falling victim to the ever-growing industry of phishing emails.
- Check the email address the message was sent from. If it looks like a replica of an official email, and you are not sure, do not click on it. For example, a large bank would not send customer emails from an AOL or MSN email address.
- Misspellings are a key red flag.
- Look for wording and email addresses that are not professional or do not align with RE/MAX culture. Some examples of valid RE/MAX emails: firstname.lastname@example.org and eCare@remax.net. These can be faked so check other indicators for validity.
- Read the message several times and decide whether it makes sense. If it does not make sense, then more than likely it is a scam. Calling the company the email claims to be from helps clarify any doubts.
- If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is not a valid offer.
- Generic introductions, such as Dear Customer, indicate the sender does not know you.
- Alarming or urgent statements advising you to respond immediately usually indicate the email is a scam. Type key phrasing into an Internet search to see if any other recipients have reported it as false.
- Never click on a link or provide username/password info from within an email.
Hover the mouse over links and look at the target address. If it's not the same website as the email claims to go to, then it's a fake; do not click on it.
If you've clicked on a suspicious link, immediately run PC protection software (Norton, Symantec, etc.). This will remove any potential malicious software. Also, change your passwords after running the protection software because if there was a key logger installed, it will have captured the current password.
- Legitimate companies can send you directly to their secure site, which is difficult to hack and monitored frequently. However, if there is doubt, don't follow any links or instructions.
- Check Mainstreet for information regarding recent spam attacks. If you have any doubt, forward the email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Consider bookmarking snopes.com, a website dedicated to exposing email scams.
- Keep your internet browser up-to-date. Most browsers contain anti-phish software that protects users from accessing sites that are on their phishing lists.
- Use caution when clicking on links within an email. Instead, type the web address in a web browser or use your bookmarks/shortcuts. Use the web address you normally use to access the site, not the address the email provides.
- Make sure your computers firewall is turned on and that you use antivirus software, which should also be regularly updated.
What to do if you get hooked
- Log into your account as soon as possible and update your password and security questions.
- Run PC protection software (e.g. Norton Utilities) to make sure no malware such as a key logger has been installed.
- Report the incident to the company which is the target of the phish.
- In extreme cases, contact local law enforcement.
What to do about scam emails sent to your remax.net address
- Forward the email to email@example.com or eCare@remax.net
- If you have responded to the email, cease all communication with the individual or group