Protect Your Property with a Google Alert

January 26, 2024

Protect Your Property with a Google Alert

In recent times, scams and fraudulent activities have become increasingly prevalent. As Realtors, we encounter rental scams almost daily, where scammers steal property photos from the internet, create fake rental listings on platforms like Craigslist, and attempt to entice trusting tenants to rent the property without seeing it in person. These scams occur in both the city and the suburbs.

So, what can property owners do to protect themselves? Our best advice is to set up a Google Alert on your home or rental property. Google Alerts are simple and free tools that provide regular updates about topics of interest, such as your property and your tenants. When you set up a Google Alert, you will receive an email every time a new web page appears in the top 20 web results or top 10 news results for the terms you specify.

As a landlord, it's advisable to set up a Google Alert on your property's address to monitor any online mentions of your property and ensure they are legitimate. Additionally, setting up a Google Alert using the name of your tenant can help you stay informed about their activities, including any potential legal issues. We also recommend setting up a Google Alert with your tenant's telephone number, which could alert you if your tenant plans to move without providing notice, such as by posting a "MOVING SALE" advertisement on Craigslist.

For homeowners, setting up a Google Alert can help ensure that no one attempts to run a rental scam using photos of your property. Even renters can benefit from setting up a Google Alert on the address where they are living.

Setting up a Google Alert is straightforward. Visit http://google.com/alerts (note that you'll need a Google login to use the service). When setting up each Alert, you will need to decide on the following:

  • Search Terms: Enter the property address in quotations, and consider setting up additional alerts for alternate ways the address may appear, using quotations to help filter the results.
  • Type of Information to Search: Specify which information to include in the search (Everything, News, Blogs, Web, Video, Groups).
  • Frequency of Alerts: Choose how often the alert should be sent (as it happens, once a day, once a week).
  • Volume: Determine how many results you see in each alert.
  • Delivery Method: Select whether you would like to receive the alerts via email or RSS feed.

It's important to note that while Google Alerts are a useful tool, they are not guaranteed to be 100% foolproof or reliable. Additionally, they may not provide an exhaustive result for every term. Despite this, Google Alerts are a valuable starting point and can help you cover your bases.

Lastly, we also recommend that parents set up Google Alerts on each of their children using the child's full legal name, but that's a topic for another day!

By setting up Google Alerts, you can take proactive steps to protect your property and stay informed about any online mentions or potential scams.

If you have any questions or want to sell your property, contact me at (609) 948-4306. I look forward to hearing from you


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