Profile picture for RussHatfield

Scams and Fraud

While we'd like to think everyone is honest and respectful of each other, unfortunately, that's not always the case. Scams are a reality of the Internet. Despite this, Zillow strives to provide a safe online community where users can easily contact one another with advice and information relating to real estate.


Zillow is a media company. Put simply, we make money through advertising. Zillow does not handle money exchanges between buyers and sellers or tenants and landlords. Anyone telling you otherwise is probably trying to scam you.


Always be wary of giving personal information, financial information, or payments of any kind to people you don't know personally. To reduce your chances of exposure to fraudulent activity and to ensure the best possible Zillow experience, please read our FAQ on Scams and Other Internet Fraud: http://www.zillow.com/wik ... et-Fraud/

Thank you!
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  • March 17 2010 - US
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    Answers (75)

    Thank you!

    • July 14 2010
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    Great Post....
    • July 14 2010
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    Profile picture for dstead
    @pitysake
    Sometimes the public records that Zillow gathers it's info from are inaccurate.  I've listed several homes and after measuring their living area, made adjustments to the zillow listing.  The public recoerd sometimes misstate bedroom, bathroom & total room count.

    My seller clients usually want the information to be corrected on all websites.

    If someone misstates living area on a listing, the appraisal report will eventually get to the buyer or worse, the loan underwriter and it will become a real issue.
    • July 18 2010
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    Profile picture for lora.5
    I am so impressed with this website as a whole.  The only thing that keeps me from using it solely when looking for a house is the fact that it's been almost entirely taken over by "foreclosure.com".  That is annoying enough to keep me from even looking at zillow most of the time because they show up in my searches but provide no real information about the properties, so I end up having to sift through several pages to even get a piece of information I can use.  Can't something be done?  Am I really the only one that wants them out of my search results if they don't provide such minimal information as the price??
    • July 20 2010
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    That is so true, in fact I just got contacted by a guy supposedly from Canada claiming he wants to buy a home in my area cash. He said he needs a lawyer so he can wire the money in US dollars. The attorneys' name is Ed Brown from Toronto. Soon as I googled his name it came up scam all over it.Everyone beware of these scams. These guys must be getting away with it with some agents if they keep trying. Its a nation wide scam also, not just in CT.
    • July 20 2010
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    We just had another scam hit our area.
    Where an out of the country buyer tries to ratify a contract and mail a deposit.
    Cancel the contract and get the escrow company to wire deposit back...
    (before his bad check clears)

    • July 22 2010
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    Profile picture for Rich Thomas

    Zillow is a great starting point to search for your new home. You should use other sources as well most important, you should contact a local agent who know the area you are interested in moving to.

    • July 22 2010
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    Profile picture for reba_haas
    It's always good to remind users online that even if a site is one that they trust, not all people using it are trustworthy.  I love that you also state that Zillow is a "media company" and not a real estate company because all too many people confuse that message too.  It's a clearinghouse of information and opportunity to be introduced to professionals who do work within the real estate and mortgage industries.

    Verification of individuals is still up to the consumer and each professional who uses the site (just like me) needs to be clear and concise about who they are, what they do, and how they are compensated for the work they do.  We certainly are not compensated for anything we do in terms of submitting comments and advice on the Zillow site and unless a consumer is hiring someone directly for a service, there should be no payment between them as part of the site.
    • July 22 2010
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    Profile picture for openup
    Thanks for the advise, Can you fix the Zillow Estimates for non-disclosure states?
    • July 22 2010
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    Profile picture for blank screen EXILED
    "Can you fix the Zillow Estimates for non-disclosure states?"  -

    That is really tricky to do; presently they use public record mortgage information for Texas rather than "sold" price.  Since "sold price" is not "public record", they have very little else to go on.  Or in some cases tax assessment.

    But if you use the local info trend charts for the area, and the data you have on individual houses provided from the public records, you can do your own extrapolation.

    Statistics calculated can only be as good as the data available.

    Sure, the local MLS has access to non-public record data that would be more useful, but it is not available to media companies or other companies that rely on public record data.  Find a way to get the MLS to release the data to companies like Zillow and the estimates can be better; but that would violate the "non-disclosure" law and owners would sue the MLS for releasing their private data.
    • July 22 2010
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    I wanted to express how great the Zillow service is.  My contact experiences have been good for the most part.  It is important to insist you get a phone number for anyone contacting you and have a conversation with them before you actually meeet in person 

    Thanks again.
    • July 24 2010
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    Great post!
    • July 28 2010
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    I love it! when I ask for a preapproval letter-or call me. Good info.
    • July 31 2010
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    Great post. Thank you.

    • August 02 2010
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    Great post. Thanks
    • August 05 2010
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    great post? hey john how many times you going to post that great post to get your pretty pic up top?
    • August 06 2010
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    Profile picture for blank screen EXILED
    John -

    If you think my post was "great", how come you didn't give it a "thumbs up"?
    • August 07 2010
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    great discussion
    • August 11 2010
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    very good discusion
    • August 11 2010
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    Profile picture for remaxagent33
    It's amazing that will all the scams going on - people still reply to bank accounts and misc emails putting in personal information.
    • August 17 2010
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    Scams / Fraud are, always have been, and probably always be part of our industry ...

    Have we forgotten how to use the sense / instincts God gave us?

    Caveat Emptor!
    • August 17 2010
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    Thanks Russ, good explanation of Zillow.

    • August 18 2010
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    Thank you for the wise words Russ. Zillow is a wonderful resource and connector for Realtors and potential Clients. 
    • August 19 2010
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    Profile picture for SoCal Engr
    Interesting comment.
    • August 19 2010
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    if anyone is "out of state" or "out of the country" and want you to send them a check for rent or a down payment..... run
    • August 30 2010
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    Thank you  Russ, everyone needs a reminder as the seasons change and attention begins to focus on other things.
    • September 01 2010
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    I too can post no information here, to get my face on top!
    • September 01 2010
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    Ha!  Now its my (creepy glowing face with a giant question mark in the middle of it) on top!
    • September 01 2010
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    Great Information. Another reason to use a local Realtor!
    • September 08 2010
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    Thanks for the reminder. Zillow still offers a great service.
    • September 09 2010
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