Safety and security on Residential People


Your online experience should be safe, candid and pleasing. Following the simple steps below can help keep you safe and secure.

Safety and Security

Avoiding scams

If a property is offered at a much cheaper price, ask yourself why. Vendors and landlords will price according to the competition in the local market so if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

If a property is offered at a much cheaper price, ask yourself why. Vendors and landlords will price according to the competition in the local market so if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

It is vital that you always try to see the property of interest before entering in any money exchanges. If you are unable to visit the property personally, perhaps you can ask someone you trust and understands your requirements on your behalf.

Again, be wary of upfront requests for payments or private information, a false sense of urgency or unnecessary details. Do not be pressurised into transferring large sums of money. Be especially sceptical if you're asked to transfer any money via a money transfer service like Western Union.

Beware of 'phishing' emails.

Phishing is the act of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, banks, online payment processors or IT administrators are commonly used to lure unsuspecting public. Phishing emails may contain links to websites that are infected with malware. Phishing is typically carried out by email spoofing or instant messaging, and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one. Phishing is an example of social engineering techniques used to deceive users, and exploits the poor usability of current web security technologies. Attempts to deal with the growing number of reported phishing incidents include legislation, user training, public awareness, and technical security measures.

Always make sure you see relevant paperwork before you commit to a decision. If you want to be overcautious by all means consult a legal professional or someone that understands property industry. For instance, when renting, ensure you have seen safety certificates (e.g. gas safety) and are satisfied your deposit is covered by the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme.

For more information on avoiding scams, visit Get Safe Online

Fraudulent information

False advertising or deceptive advertising is the use of false or misleading statements in advertising. As advertising has the potential to persuade people into residential transactions that they might otherwise avoid, many governments around the world use regulations to control false, deceptive or misleading advertising. "Truth" refers to essentially the same concept, that customers have the right to know what they are buying, and that all necessary information should be on the label.

False advertising, in the most blatant of contexts, is illegal in most countries. However, advertisers still find ways to deceive consumers in ways that are legal, or technically illegal but unenforceable.

Fraudulent adverts may be placed by criminals posing as agents, often involving hoax property at a bargain price. A typical scenario may include:

  1. The property is advertised at a price well below market value
  2. The landlord/seller will ask you to email rather than call
  3. The landlord/seller will claim they have had to move abroad or they don’t have access to a phone due to the nature of their job (e.g. in the army, based on an oil rig)
  4. They may ask for money to be sent abroad or via a false 'Payment Protection Service' using legitimate company names such as Residential People. They may also ask you to use a Money Transfer service {e.g. Western Union}

Protect your Computer

It is essential to take sensible measures to protect your computer from the numerous threats encountered online these days. This should be relatively simple for anyone who can use a computer, and there is ample guidance on this website to help you to do so. Effective protection will safeguard against your computer being infected with viruses and spyware that could result from your online activities that seem completely harmless - such as searching the internet, downloading, playing games and even using email. In turn, it will safeguard you against potentially serious consequences such as fraud and identity theft. Here are some simple steps:

  1. Ensure security software is up to date, including anti-virus protection, anti-spyware software and a firewall.
  2. Set secure passwords using at least a combination of letters and numbers.
  3. Block spam emails and use an up to date web browser.
  4. Encrypt and secure your wireless network to protect against eavesdroppers and freeloaders.
  5. For more information on protecting your PC visit Get Safe Online

Useful links

It's a sad fact of life that things go wrong sometimes. Fortunately, if that happens to you, there are lots of places to go for help. Many of these organisations will also be able give you even more sensible, practical advice to limit the chances of things going wrong online in the first place.

If you have experienced a scam on Residential People, think you might have done, or suspect fraudulent activity, please let us know immediately at <a href="mailto:support@commercialpeople.com">support@residentialpeople.com</a>