How to Avoid Real Estate Cyber Scams

Kristi Bailey 2020 NETAR President

Phishing, hacking, wire fraud – these are all ways people attempt to steal from others online. As real estate searches and transactions move more and more online, the chances of being caught up in a cyber scam have become even greater.  


While it may seem like there are hundreds of ways for a criminal to take advantage of a consumer online, there are just as many ways consumers can protect themselves. Here are a few tips from the Northeast Tennessee Association of  REALTORS® to help home buyers and sellers recognize and avoid real estate scams:  

Do not send sensitive information via email 

Do not send banking information, your social security number, or anything else that could be used to comprise your identity over email. If you absolutely must send personal or sensitive information via email, only use encrypted email.   

Do not click on unverified email 

If you do not recognize the name or email address of the sender, do not open the email. And beware of any attachments or downloadable files from unknown email addresses; they can contain viruses or provide a way for a hacker to access your computer.  

Do not use unsecured Wi-Fi 

 It may seem harmless to check banking information using the free Wi-Fi at your local coffee shop but using an open connection can leave you vulnerable to hackers and scammers. Only access sensitive information on your home computer or on a secured network.  

If you suspect fraud, tell someone 

If you suspect that fraud has or is in the process of occurring, contact all parties contacted to the transaction immediately. Unfortunately, often there is nothing that can be done to retrieve money stolen in the scam; however, you should still report the incident to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center or the Federal Trade Commission.”  

For more information on how to safely and securely buy or sell a home, contact a local professional REALTOR®. 

NETAR is the voice for real estate in Northeast Tennessee. It is the largest trade association in the Northeast Tennessee – Southwest Virginia region representing over 1,400 members and 100 affiliates involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Pending sales, Trends Reports, and the regional market analytics can be found on the NETAR websites at 

NETAR is the voice for real estate in Northeast Tennessee. It is the largest trade association in the Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia region, representing over 1,800+ members and 100+ business partners involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Weekly market reports and information for both consumers and members are available on the NETAR website at