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To help you protect yourself from possible cases of fraud, we would like to make you aware of some commonly used methods.
In particular, three types of attempted fraud are quite common: phishing, advance fee fraud and currency exchange fraud.
Current text message phishing-attacks
Scammers are currently sending text messages to advertisers and requesting that they confirm their identity via a link. They give various reasons for this, stating for example that terms and conditions of use have been breached. Following this:
- The advertisers are asked to follow the link in the text message.
- The link takes them to a website that looks identical to the homegate.ch login page. The only noticeable differences are in the link.
- The advertisers are supposed to enter their user details here to confirm their identity.
We would like to reassure you that homegate.ch will never ask you via text message to enter your user details. Please contact us if you receive any text messages that strike you as odd.
Phishing is a form of Internet fraud where the scammer attempts to gain access to advertisers' user data.
The process takes place as follows:
- 1. A scammer registers himself on a published advertisement via e-mail and requests that someone get in touch with him.
- 2. When the advertiser answers this e-mail, he subsequently receives an e-mail response which contains a request to activate a login using a link provided in the e-mail.
- 3. If the advertiser clicks on this link, he is forwarded to what is known as a phishing page. If the advertiser logs in, the scammer then acquires all his access data.
- 4. The scammer next changes the advertiser's advertisement so all interested parties are rerouted to the scammer's e-mail address.
We would like to point out that homegate.ch never requests in an e-mail that you supply your user data. Should you receive any conspicuous or strange e-mails, please get in touch with us.
Advance fee fraud
Some ads can offer properties whose rental or purchase price is far below market rates. Often these concern manipulated ads in which changes were made to the rental rate or have a fictitious contact person. Once you make contact with the alleged landlord/seller, you are requested to pay an advance fee before being able to view the property in person.
Note: Serious landlords or sellers do not require advance payment for viewings! If you run across ads which seem fraudulent, please get in touch with us.
Currency exchange fraud
Currency exchange fraud involves a fraudulent transaction using foreign currency.
- 1. The scammer registers himself on a real estate ad. During a telephone discussion, it is suggested to the person offering the property that part of the purchase price be paid in cash or in a foreign currency, e.g. euros.
- 2. Often, the conversation is then shifted to the topic of exchange rates. As an incentive, the advertiser is promised a favourable commission.
- 3. The scammers suggest that the meeting for the transfer of funds take place in another country, e.g. northern Italy or France.
- 4. During the actual transfer of funds, the advertisers are cheated out of their money, e.g. by giving them counterfeit banknotes or empty briefcases/bags supposedly containing money.
Do not fall prey to interested parties who promise you excessive profits by conducting business in cash or who wish to do additional currency-exchange transactions!
Fraud through an SMS
A scammer responds to a real estate ad with an SMS. In it, the seller is informed that several parties are interested in the property. The next steps:
- the seller is instructed to call a certain telephone number
- then enter a code
- finally, leave a message for the interested parties
Beware! These could be pay-per-call numbers that involve a charge. In such cases, we advise you to refrain from making contact, in particular if the sender fails to provide information about the fees involved. If you receive such a suspicious SMS, please get in touch with your telecom provider.