Protecting Your Real Estate Transactions: A Guide to Avoiding Phishing, Smishing, and Vishing Scams


Real estate transactions involve sensitive information and significant financial transactions, making them attractive targets for cybercriminals. Phishing, smishing, and vishing scams pose serious threats to real estate professionals and clients. This article aims to shed light on these scams, provide real-world examples within the real estate context, and offer practical tips to prevent falling victim to them.


scam written on paper


Phishing Scams in Real Estate

Phishing scams in the real estate industry often involve attempts to trick individuals into revealing personal or financial information. Examples include:

  • Fake Property Listings: Cybercriminals create fraudulent property listings, enticing potential buyers or renters to click on links that lead to malicious websites seeking personal details.
  • Bogus Closing Documents: Scammers may send fake emails posing as real estate agents or title companies, requesting recipients to verify closing details and inadvertently revealing sensitive information.

Avoidance Tips: Verify property listings through reputable sources, always double-check email sender addresses (hover over the email), and communicate sensitive information through secure channels.


Smishing Scams in Real Estate

Smishing, or SMS phishing, involves fraudulent attempts via text messages. In the real estate context, examples include:

  1. Fraudulent Rental Inquiries: Scammers pose as potential tenants, sending text messages expressing interest in a property and requesting personal or financial information.
  2. Phony Mortgage Alerts: Individuals may receive text messages claiming to be from their mortgage lender, requesting immediate action to prevent consequences, leading recipients to disclose sensitive information.

Avoidance Tips: Be skeptical of unsolicited text messages, verify the identity of the sender, and avoid clicking on links or providing personal information via SMS.


Vishing Scams in Real Estate

Vishing, or voice phishing, involves deceptive phone calls seeking sensitive information. Real estate-related vishing scams may include:

  • Fake Buyer/Seller Calls: Scammers may impersonate buyers or sellers, posing urgent concerns that require immediate action, such as wire transfers or divulging financial information.
  • False Lender Calls: Individuals may receive calls claiming to be from a lender, stating that there is an issue with the mortgage or transaction, prompting victims to provide personal information.

Avoidance Tips: Verify the caller's identity, do not share sensitive information over the phone unless certain of the legitimacy, and use official contact information to return calls.



In the dynamic world of real estate, staying vigilant against phishing, smishing, and vishing scams is crucial. By understanding these scams and implementing proactive measures, real estate professionals and clients can safeguard their transactions, ensuring a secure and trustworthy real estate experience.