NAR published this Urgent Alert back in December, but we feel it is so important that we are rerunning the article...
Criminals are hacking into the email accounts of real estate agents or other persons involved in a real estate transaction and using information gained from the hack to dupe a party into a fraudulent wire transfer. The hackers often send an email that appears to be from an individual legitimately involved in the transaction, informing the recipient, often the buyer, that there has been a last minute change to the wiring instructions. Following the new instructions, the recipient will wire funds directly to the hacker’s account, which will be cleared out in a matter of minutes. The money is almost always lost forever.
In the next two weeks, real estate professionals will be contending with high transactional volumes during year-end closings. This is a busy and hectic time for real estate professionals, and many millions of dollars will be sent and received via wire before the end of the year. This is exactly the environment in which online criminals seek to operate.
The National Association of REALTORS® urges its members and state and local REALTOR® associations to be on high alert for email and online fraud.
In May 2015, NAR issued an alert regarding a sophisticated email wire fraud hitting the real estate industry. Since then, the incidents of online scams targeting practitioners have continued to rise but the advice is the same.
Bottom line: Do not let your guard down. Start from the assumption that any email in your in-box could be a targeted attack from a criminal.
For the full article with information onprevention and damage control, please click here.
For more information on this and other cyberscams, as well as further information on cybersecurity best practices, visit these resources:
In response to the continued development of high-density housing in District 9 and changing traffic patterns that make touring in the late afternoon difficult, SFAR has made changes to broker’s tour to facilitate easier touring in the areas of District 9 most affected by these trends.
South Beach, South of Market, Yerba Buena, and Mission Bay properties can now be toured on a Wednesday tour time-block created for them from 12pm – 2pm. In order to bring this tour capability to agents as quickly as possible, the transition to a two-day tour will be rolled out in a phased approach beginning immediately.
Tuesday Tour functionality is dependent upon customized MLS software (by Rapattoni) that hasn’t been substantially updated in over a decade, and is now tightly coupled with mobile vendors (THEO) and other agent productivity solutions. Because of this, it will take some time to update the tour functionality and create a rich user experience similar to the one we have now.
While those efforts are already underway, beginning next Wednesday, June 8, we have implemented an interim solution using our new MLS social platform - RealTimeMLS (or RTMLS for short). It's an easy-to-use solution with just enough automation to ensure that agents can get start touring on Wednesday while we complete the final software implementation. Download the RTMLS app for iOS (iPhone and iPad) here.
The Android version is in development and should be released in July.
Why only sections of District 9?
Excellent question. Based on feedback from listing and selling agents in District 9, an analysis of recent and future building forecasts, traffic patterns, seasonal events, and tow-away zones, the MLS and Tech committee recommended specific sections of District 9 to be targeted initially. South of Market, South Beach, Yerba Buena, and Mission Bay (sub-districts D, F, G, H) are the areas substantially affected by these trends.
How do I use the RTMLS tour solution (updated: June 12/26)?
If you have a listing that you want to have open from 12pm to 2pm on Wednesday in District 9 (D, F, G, H) you simply open RTMLS (either on your desktop or using the mobile app) and go into the Broker Tour Wednesday group that all SFAR members have access to. Once in the group, locate the blast for the correctly dated tour:
... and then add your listing in the following easily recognizable format as a REBLAST:
ListPrice, BD, BA, PRK
Descriptive text (please keep SHORT)
Optional: include 1 photo
Agents who have logged into RTMLS will receive an email on Wednesday morning that shows all of the listings entered for that Wednesday. You can access the list of listings by opening the email or using the app itself. But nothing stops you from accessing the group on Tuesday night to take a look at what's on the tour the next day.
Can I schedule this week and next week's Wednesday tour in the same thread?
No, there will only be a single thread for the upcoming Wednesday. By adding your listing with the format described above, you are indicating that you're open from noon to 2pm on that Wednesday only. Every Wednesday around 4:00pm, the FOLLOWING thread will automatically be created and you can then add your listing to that.
Will this differentiate between NEW and REPEAT?
No, the interim solution will not have separated slots for new vs. repeat, and it will also not data check against the listing entered into SFARMLS.
Can I schedule my listing in both the Tuesday 2pm and Wednesday noon blocks?
Yes, during the interim period using the RTMLS solution, you can list your property on both Tuesday and Wednesday. However, given the challenges that have led to low tour turnout in these areas during the Tuesday 2pm time block, we suggest trying out the Wednesday tour time.
What if I have a listing in a building that restricts tour times?
When does it start?
The first one is already added to RealTimeMLS with a date of June 8! If you login now it's already created and waiting for you to add your listing blurb if you want to be on tour next Wednesday. If you login to RTMLS at least once, you'll automatically be added to the mailing list and will receive the first email on the morning on Wednesday June 8.
When I post to RTMLS, sometimes I don't immediately see my post, why?
The RESAAS technology used for RTMLS uses a message queueing system in order to make sure all posts appear in the order they were added. Please make sure you allow a couple of minutes for your comment to appear before contacting support at the MLS.