Consumer Fraud Alerts

Coldwell Banker Canada knows you work hard for your money. That is why we want to provide you with some tips that may help you avoid being scammed.

Phishing scams have a broad impact, especially in the real estate industry. If you receive a suspicious email, do not click any of its links.

This Important Notice is not intended to provide legal advice. You should consult with a lawyer if you have any questions.


“Phishing” is an attempt by spammers to gain your personal information via email with the intention of stealing your identity.


Scam emails attempt to lure victims into responding to an email or clicking on a link, usually with intent to get money, install malware, or get personal information. The most common types of scams are:

  • Guaranteed loans or credit
  • Business opportunities (work-at-home schemes)
  • Health and diet
  • Easy money
  • Free goods

Important Notice to Prospective Homebuyers and Tenants Regarding Fraudulent Bank Wiring Instruction Schemes

Recently, there have been increased reports across the nation of a theft scheme that involves hackers stealing email addresses and sending fraudulent wiring instructions to homebuyers and tenants. REALTORS®, lawyers, title agents and buyers could be affected. The criminal scheme has many variations, and this notice is not intended to describe each situation. As an actual or prospective buyer or tenant, we want to alert you to the situation so that you can minimize the risk that you could be a victim.

We strongly recommend that before you wire any funds to any party (including you own lawyer, real estate broker or title agent whom you know to be involved in your transaction) that you personally call them to verify the wire instructions. You should call them at a number that you have obtained on your own (e.g., the sales contract, their website, etc.) and should not use the phone number that is contained in any email - even if the email appears to be from someone you know. A common aspect of the scheme involves the criminal hacking the sender’s email (unbeknownst to them) and sending you an email that looks like other legitimate emails you have received from that party. The email contains the criminal’s wire instructions and may contain the criminal’s phone number and once your funds are wired by your bank to the criminal’s account there may be no way to recover those funds.

Please exercise caution before wiring funds to any party.

Fraudulent emails appearing to be from out-of-country homeowners, advance fee scams

We have also been made aware of an Advance Fee Scams involving the unauthorized use of a brand name such as the Coldwell Banker® brand name, website and email address or association to the brand via Facebook or other social media platform.

The scammer lures the victim (e.g., a prospective tenant) by posting an offer of a high-standard apartment or other rental property for low cost or sending information via Messenger about such a property, and showing pictures of the apartment/property. The scammer uses online classified ad services such as, craigslist, apartments, for sale, services, community, and events to post such offers or creates a fake Facebook profile claiming an affiliation with the Coldwell Banker System. The victim is told that the renter is "traveling," "vacationing abroad" or "relocating" or that the landlord is not available to show the property, or some similar excuse that will discourage the victim from seeing the property. The victim is required to pay a deposit via Western Union (or MoneyGram, etc.) in exchange for the "keys" to the property. In an effort to instill confidence in this transaction, the scammer fraudulently claims to have listed the apartment with a local Coldwell Banker office and arranges for a fraudulent email notification posing as a Coldwell Banker representative (and using Coldwell Banker logos) to be sent to the victim or sends such information or payment instructions via Facebook Messenger. The scammer disappears once the deposit is received, leaving the prospective tenant defrauded.

Coldwell Banker has recently been made aware of a certain scam or phishing email involving an attacker leveraging a rogue server under the name Michael Glenn Kindellen. The attacker is sending a very simple phishing message that is designed to solicit a response from the recipient where the attacker can then engage in further social engineering.

Please exercise caution before opening any email, especially those that appear to be coming from Michael Glenn Kindellen and/or includes some type of payment instructions. If it looks suspicious, delete it.

Most scams involve one or more of the following:

  • Inquiry from someone far away, often in another country.
  • Western Union, Money Gram, cashier's check, money order, shipping, escrow service, or a "guarantee."
  • Inability or refusal to meet face-to-face before consummating transaction.


Here are some tips to help you avoid such scams:

  • Know the person you are sending money to - you receive an email from a Coldwell Banker affiliated agent with payment instructions, call the requesting office using the phone number located in our directory.
  • Craigslist, Facebook and similar sites are not involved in any transaction, and do not handle payments or guarantee transactions.
  • Use caution when giving out financial and other personal information via email or social media platforms (bank account number, credit card number, social insurance number, etc.)
  • Avoid deals involving shipping services and know that only a scammer will "guarantee" your transaction.
  • These types of scams often claim that an mtcn or confirmation code is needed before withdrawing your money - this is false, once you've wired money, it is gone.
  • Property/apartment listing may be local, but landlord/owner is "travelling" or "relocating" and needs you to wire money to them abroad.
  • Check the email address the message was sent from. If it looks like a replica of an official email, and you are not sure, do not click on it. For example, a large bank would not send customer emails from an AOL or MSN email address.
  • Misspellings are a key red flag.
  • Things that are not professional, or do not align with the Coldwell Banker culture.
  • Read the message several times and decide whether it makes sense. If it does not make sense then more than likely it is a scam. Calling the company the email claims to be from helps clarify any doubts. An Agent working with a Coldwell Banker office in Canada will specify the office name.
  • If the offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is not a valid offer.
  • Generic introductions such as “Dear Customer”, which indicate that the sender does not know you.
  • Alarming or urgent statements advising you to respond immediately.
  • Never click on a link or provide username/password info from within an email.
  • Hover the mouse over links and look at the target address. If it’s not the same website as the email claims to go to, then it’s a fake; do not click on it.
  • If you’ve clicked on a suspicious link, immediately run PC protection software (Norton, Symantec, etc.). This will remove any potential malicious software. Also, change your passwords after running the protection software, because if there was a key logger installed it will have captured the current password.
  • Legitimate companies can send you directly to their secure site, which is difficult to hack and monitored frequently. However, if there is doubt, don’t follow any links or instructions.
  • Keep your internet browser up to date. Most browsers contain anti-phish software that protects users from accessing sites that are on their phishing lists.
  • Use caution when clicking on links within an email. Instead, type the web address in a web browser or use your bookmarks/shortcuts. Use the web address you normally use to access the site, not the address the email provides.

Make sure your computers firewall is turned on and that you use antivirus software, which should also be regularly updated.

Additional information and who to notify





Thank you,

Coldwell Banker Canada