Using an email address in your contact information makes it easy for potential buyers to communicate with you at their convenience, without worrying about time zones and long distance charges. Many homes and properties on OKHomeseller have sold to out-of-province, out-of-country and overseas buyers. Email is not a bad thing, email is a convenient way to communicate but it can have its drawbacks. The main problem with email is that people can easily collect email addresses. They can then use the email addresses to create a list and send out junk mail or worse - try and trick you into divulging personal information or sending them money.
A) Junk Mail:
If you use your email in the contact information for your listing you will probably receive unwanted junk mail. It is also possible that your email address could be put on a database (an electronic list) of email addresses that will be sent bulk email on a regular basis from a variety of junk mail sources. This means that even after your contact information has been removed from OKHomeseller you may still receive this junk mail because you're on the database.
If you don't want junk email sent to your main email address you have a few options:
- Create a temporary email that you use for selling your property. Don't forget about this email address, be sure to check this email for inquiries from potential buyers. Temporary email addresses can be created at yahoo, hotmail, etc.
- Don't use an email address at all - have potential buyers contact you by phone.
B) Email Scams:
There are numerous email and Internet scams that attempt to trick you into providing personal information or sending money. Personal information you should protect includes banking information, credit card information, passwords, driver's license number, social insurance number, etc. Often the scammers impersonate legitimate businesses, charities and causes.
Some Common Email Scams to be Aware of:
- "Phishing" - use "official" looking emails and websites to fool you into divulging sensitive financial information.
- Identity Theft - these schemes center around stealing your credit, your money and your good name.
- Lottery Prize - generally a request that you send money to receive your prize.
- Low Interest Loan or Credit Card - beware of any asking for "prepayment", processing fees or personal information.
- Liberia/Nigerian Scam - any high ranking officials or "foreign" business men that need help getting their money out of the country. Also be wary of anyone that wants to pay in a foreign currency or requests you open a bank account to complete a transaction.
- Overpayment - this scheme involves overpaying an amount with a counterfeit cheque and then requesting you send a cheque for the difference. The cheque they send can take as long as 21 days to clear and will bounce in the overpayment scheme.
Before acting on any email, stop and think about it:
- Do you know that they are who they say they are?
- Do their claims make sense?
- Are they trying to rush you with a limited time offer?
- Can you verify what they say through an alternate source? (Don't use contact info provided in their email)
To be Safe:
- Do not provide personal information or send money to anyone contacting you via email.
- Talk to your legal representative (lawyer or notary) before entering into any deal involving your home and property.
You can report suspicious emails and phone calls to Phonebusters.com