Don’t Let Your Reputation—or Your Wallet—Fall Prey to Scam Complaint Site

A Web site of suspicious origin is misusing the REALTOR® trademark in what seems to be an attempt to get money from real estate practitioners.

The site,, supposedly publishes consumer complaints about real estate agents. However, an investigation by the New Jersey association of REALTORS® showed a string of complaints against its members, all using similar phrasing. “This leads to suspicion that these are not all public-submitted complaints,” says Lauren Castellano, director of communications for the New Jersey Association of REALTORS®.

Not only that, when agents who have been the subject of a complaint attempt to make contact, the site offers them the “opportunity” to pay to have the complaint and their name removed from the site, says Michael Thiel, an attorney for the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.  NAR legal staff checked the WHOIS record for the site and discovered it’s hosted on servers located in the Seychelles. “It’s recorded as having been initially registered on Jan. 1, 2013,” Thiel says, ”which makes the site’s claim of having been around since 2002 very suspect.”

Thiel’s office has received a number of calls from members who’ve been informed, via e-mail, that their name is listed at the site. NAR attorneys are investigating and, if necessary, will take steps to have the site shut down. [Jan. 23 Update: Wendy Legerton below asks why NAR isn’t taking more aggressive action. In response, NAR Associate General Counsel Ralph Holmen offers this: “This site does not have authority to use the term REALTOR®, and NAR has taken action to stop them from using it. That action does not (yet) involve litigation, but the possibility of initiating suit remains if our efforts are not successful.”] But it’s important to approach with caution any service that claims to either track or burnish your reputation.  Online reputation management—and reputation trashing—is a growing enterprise, and there are simple steps you can take to manage your own reputation online:

  • Make sure all of your profiles (on social media sites, at, and so on) are complete, up to date, and consistent.
  • Be proactive in asking customers for reviews in legitimate forums, such as Yelp and LinkedIn.
  • Search Google and Yahoo for your name and your company’s name. Save each search as a browser favorite and check them daily.
  • Sign up for Google Alerts so that you’re notified when your name appears in a search. Also set up alerts for variations of your name, your company name, and other keywords.
  • Ask your customers where they’ve gone to search for information about real estate and other professionals.
  • Correct errors quickly. Immediately contact the Web site and be willing to prove your case with information from your MLS or other sources. But don’t be tempted to pay to have information removed. “It’s hard to imagine a legitimate site requiring you to pay to take down false information,” Thiel says.

Stacey Moncrieff

Stacey is vice president of business-to-business communications for the National Association of REALTORS®, overseeing the association's key communications with NAR members and REALTOR® association executives.

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  1. Kate koplinka

    Thank you for letting us this information and REALTORS(R) are thankful for protecting our brand.

  2. Thank you Stacey. Good tips to manage the online reputation.
    It’s always a tricky road to get yourself known as wide as possible and still be safe with so much information about oneself online.
    And this is a more targeted scam compared to the long row of others, like the BBB scam mails about customer complaints or the “government” mails that my license is revoked, up to the “bank, paypal, credit card” mails bout the account being limited, closed, in danger, misused etc.

    I understand that vulnerable people (like elderly) can fall for many scams, but an agent should be savvy enough to detect most of them easily.
    And that you can “pay” to get a complaint against you nullified like in this case, should switch all “red lights” on.
    Although, as soon as this becomes real, let me know asap (SMILE)

  3. Alan Hall

    The Scam Compaint Site continues to be up and running.

  4. I found out this morning that I am a victim of this website! I was horrified! I hope that NAR can get to the bottom of it and that this website will be taken down. I would hate to see other real estate professionals become a victim of their vicious lies and accusations! It is so hurtful and to not be able to respond without paying a huge fee….makes me one angry agent! Go Get Them!

  5. Brandi

    I received an email 2 day’s ago from a person wanting me to list their home, however she wanted me to send her some referrals since she found a negative report about me on a web site and she sent me the link. I followed the link and sure enough – there it was and yes, all I had to do was pay $99 to have the comment and my name removed. I knew right then I was being scammed. If you click on the link today the web site can’t be found –

  6. Della Wallace

    I got one of these a week ago. I contacted the Attorney General’s office and my local board.

  7. What is NAR doing to have this site taken down? I have looked through the “grading” system for local agents and it appears everyone has a D or F. It’s obvious it is nothing more than a scam.

  8. I was targeted by this exact scam just last week. Luckily, I was suspicious enough of the e-mail (though it seemed legit on first read) to check it out without clicking on the link provided. I called my designated broker about it and he reported it to SKCAR (Seattle King County Assn of Realtors). I’ve been signed up with Google Alerts for a couple of years and it did not give me any indication this bogus complaint was out there. Such a shame that we have to be on our guard for this kind of attempted extortion.

  9. I Do not think I would use YELP… they offer to remove bad posts for $$… and offer to raise your rating with your membership $$

    Use your socio bios, your own website, linked in

    this is second hand information, but from a reliable source.

  10. Thanks Stacey fo rwatching out for all of us.

  11. Adam

    I got one of these emails and was shocked to see the “complaint” on their website which I knew was blatantly false. I looked through other complaints of agents in my market and there were many “complaints” against licensees who aren’t even practicing salespeople. Then I noticed that many of the “complaints” had the exact same wording for different agents. This is so bogus and I hope that NAR is successful in getting them shut down. I work hard to keep up my reputation, both online and offline and it’s frustrating that this is out there.

  12. Thanks so much for letting fellow Realtors know about this scam. It happened to me recently and it certainly left me feeling completely not in control of my business. I immediately talked to my local and state association. They went right to work on getting to the bottom of this. Thanks HAR, MAR and NAR for getting the word out.

  13. Thank you Leslie,
    We Realtors are very fortunate to have such Tenaious Watchdogs looking after and protecting us from these less than scrupulous idiots trying to bring harm to Professionals and our Industry.

  14. Brenda Lutes

    I received the email from ‘Sara Williams’ whose unmasked email was When I looked up esystems online, I got a login screen for interspire email marketer. What a disgusting way to do business-trash reputations and trick people into providing email addresses in an attempt to rectify the trashing.

  15. Bruce Maxson

    Wow, just got an email from this site 2 days ago! They had my email and Broker’s address! However from the wording of the complaint, I knew they were lying! I was extremely pissed! I tried to track and complain but to no avail! NAR… PLEASE take them down. Lawsuit for defamation! As a professional I will NOT write the words here that I have for these type of people. Track them. It is not that hard. WhoIs, PayPal! Give me a minute with them in a room with a baseball bat, haha! Biooooootchs!!

  16. Bruce Maxson

    Brandi, is still up as of; 9:58pm 1/16/2013

  17. Wendy Legerton

    I guess I am confused as to why NAR did not file suit right away for illegal use of “Realtor”. Do they have NAR permission to use Realtor. That right there should be reason. In addition, on the site itself, they state they talk to many “we are visited by over THREE MILLION people every month! We are by far the most popular and most trusted Realtor review website online since 2002.” And we know this is not true. AND they have a tab to contact NAR, so why isn’t NAR being a bit more aggressive?

  18. / is another real estate review website that continues to post negative stuff about me, though I have asked them repeatedly to take it down. They told me to respond to the comments, or pay up. Unfortunately, negative stuff sells, even if it’s untrue. You can’t believe everything that’s posted on the internet, and there’s not enough time in the day to check every website. It’s just sad what this world is coming to, when you are in public service.

  19. Bambi

    I had the same thing happen to me last week. My broker told me to change my email password as hackers amy be able to get into my email after clicking on link! Better safe than sorry! They need to shut this down!!!!!

  20. The site is pretty weak looking but the ReMax ads give it a slight level of legitimacy. Perhaps ReMax should pursue this as well . . .

  21. Joshua

    I had something similar happen to me except I received an email from the better business b this past year stating that a customer had filed a complaint against me and that I needed to “click a link” to open the report and to respond to it. I contacted the better business B and confirmed it was spam. It’s my thought that if I was to click the link that I would have downloaded a virus to my computer.

  22. Chris Nyman Weller

    For those of you who are wondering “Where the hell is Seychelles?”… (I was) It’s a tiny island in the Indian Ocean, off the east coast of Africa.

  23. I, too, fell prey to this scam. They give you a chance to respond to the allegation but it is written by an “anonymous” accuser. I would never respond to an anonymous statement! If you don’t immediately realize it is a scam,you are crushed. We work very hard to establish and maintain stellar reputations and something like this knocks the wind out of you! I was relieved and greatful to hear that it was not real.

  24. Chris C.

    The comment posted about me was a total fabricated lie. I tried to contact someone at and they have no phone number. This is BLACKMAIL. You have to pay $99 to remove the comment from their website. I am now told by a google representative that this is a permanent record that cannot be erased. My name is now tarnished forever unless I spend $$$$ to correct. What BS!

  25. Stuart

    This is a fairly common problem and one which the NAR and most US -based lawyers are clueless at what to do. It is common with businesses too. There are a number of them (rip-off repor/ pissed off consumer, etc) and the typical price to remove a known business from the list is around $25,000. I’m sure that this site is not so aggressive as it is dealing with indivduals. The cost of legal action from the US makes it prohibitively expensive to get these guys who all operate an off-shore server, but may themselves be US residents and usually are.
    Best to ignore the complaint and if clients bring it up explain the issue to them that it is nothing more than extortion. These things will come up and one should not be surprised by them in this day and age. Just be prepared.

  26. has targeted me specifically by putting my name on the bottom of their footer on all their webpages – my name links to my fake complaint. I suppose they are firing back for my posts on Trulia and Zillow to warn Realtors out there about this extortion scheme.

    I have now contacted Paypal to try to get their method of payment cut off. I am also pursuing discussions with NAR to better understand what they are doing to protect the Realtor trademark, the images on the website, and its members. And lastly, I am in contact with an attorney who is also getting sucked into this mess.

    I got 2 emails today from the folks and one text. They must really like me!

  27. When I received their scam email, I did some online research and found a site called that gave me the lowdown as posted by a couple of Realtors who had already researched it. But I filled out their comment form anyway, just to see what would happen. So far, nothing. The dead give away was the fact that I work in PA, yet had me listed as Union County, NJ. And I’ve never worked in Jersey. Not only that, they listed my agency as one I started with 8 years ago. So their data base isn’t exactly up-to-date.

  28. Annette

    As of today, January 23, 2013, at 4:20 PM Pacific Standard Time, this is what the home page of the website states: “ATTENTION VISITORS:
    This website has been privately sold and is currently being held in escrow via Be sure to bookmark this page and return on May 1st 2013 for the NEW & IMPROVED version of”.
    Unfortunately, the search feature for names of realtors is still functional.

    Whatever you’re doing, NAR, it’s not working!

  29. Colleen Badagliacco

    I googled myself and see that the realtor-complaints site came up under my name!
    I have NO complaints, am an NAR Director, etc. When I went to the site I could not find the post that had mentioned my name. I have just read that the site has been taken down,but that does not seem to be the case. How do I connect with someone who can help with this? ( if possible!)

  30. Frank Livingstone

    If there’s any correlation that I have discovered regarding real estate agents and poor service is the following.

    If a realtor has hedged their entire career on a horrible and cheap $ 12 domain name. Assume their service is going to be as bad.

  31. Michael

    If you were not aware, you may want to know is not the only site doing this. Another has popped up at When you search for an agent by city the first 4-5 come up with good reviews to make it appear legitimate but if you continue searching agents by city, the rest come up with negative comments and an “F” rating. I emailed the web site (in Panama) and asked them to produce proof that people I have actually worked with submitted reviews and I also demanded they remove my profile from their site. I followed up by contacting Texas Association of Realtors (TAR) and reported it to the legal hotline who said they also would take action and forward the info to NAR. I would suggest everyone who reads this go and do a search on to see if a profile has been set up for you and if so, you may want to contact your state association of Realtors. This is nothing short of extortion and maybe it is time for the FEDs to get involved.