As more people rely on photos instead of in-person showings when renting apartments during the COVID-19 pandemic, AG Healey and the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) have partnered to issue an advisory warning the public about an apartment leasing scam and offering guidance on how to avoid falling victim to it.

Both the AG’s Office and GBREB have received complaints from prospective tenants, property management companies, and real estate agents about a scam involving fake apartment listings being posted online. The scammers use photos from real listings of homes for rent or sale, and at times even use the contact information of an actual listing agent or management company, and then post them on Craigslist or other online platforms. The scammers solicit deposits through these ads to be sent to them directly from tenants, who end up not actually securing an apartment to lease because of the fraudulent nature of the ads.

“This scam is the rental market equivalent of catfishing, and while it’s not new, we want the public to be aware of the increased risks during the pandemic,” said AG Healey. “Access to safe and reliable housing is essential to the vitality of our communities and we’ll continue to partner with stakeholders to ensure our residents are not losing money or left without a place to live.”

“Heartless scams like these cannot be tolerated. They are career damaging to hard working real estate professionals, and unscrupulous to consumers,” said Greg Vasil, CEO of GBREB. “The mission of the Real Estate Board is to expose them and protect both its membership and consumers from threats like these. If you have any doubt about a real estate listing, do not send any money before you are sure you’re working with a Licensed Realtor. Please report false ads to the proper authorities.”

To avoid falling victim to this scam, AG Healey and GBREB offer the following advice:

• Thorough inspection: Whenever possible, inspect an apartment carefully before signing a lease or paying a deposit.

• Use a broker: If you must rent an apartment unseen, don’t trust online advertisements—online apartment listings are just too easy to fake. Instead, use a licensed real estate broker or salesperson. You can verify a broker’s license online here.

• Watch for red flags: Keep an eye out for red flags such as poorly written ads, deals that are too good to be true, and requests for payment using untraceable methods.

• Only make secure payments: Never send a wire transfer, cashier’s check, or funds transfer to someone you’ve only met online. If they turn out to be a scammer, you won’t be able to get your money back.

• Protect your personal information: Don’t disclose your SSN or PayPal information to someone you’ve only met online. Meet your landlord in person before agreeing to a background check or ask the landlord to have the background check performed by a licensed real estate broker or salesperson.

• File a complaint: If you are the victim of an online apartment listing scam, file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center at

• Report fraudulent ads: If you’re the owner of a property, realtor or property manager and find that someone else has altered your listing or listed your property for rent, report the fraudulent ad to the website’s point of contact for abuse immediately.

AG Healey’s Office is committed to helping Massachusetts residents access safe and reliable housing, especially throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. AG Healey’s Community Engagement Division has held virtual trainings on tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities since the beginning of the pandemic and continues to do so. Those interested in participating in a training can find the schedule here.

Visit AG Healey’s COVID-19 resource page for information about how the AG’s Office can provide support during this crisis.


CBA Tour Protocols: Broker Best Practices & Recommendations

CBA has developed a set of guidelines to ensure a safe tour process to protect the well-being of the brokers, clients and owners. These recommendations are encouraged to be followed during the re-entry process. 

Click Here to access the full guidelines.

CBA Broker Protocols

Dear CBA Members and Friends,


This has been a challenging year for all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic has tested us, and we are proud of the way our CBA community has come together to support one another.


While our world is already struggling, recent acts of violence, including the tragic murder of George Floyd, remind us that overt racism, as well as less-obvious injustices, are the reality for our Black American siblings. This moment has highlighted inequalities that have existed in our society for centuries.


Violence against Black people must end, and ingrained systems of oppression must be challenged. We stand in solidarity with courageous protesters around the country. We value the millions of voices that will not be silent against violence and racism.


Individually, we must all look inward and consider where our own prejudices lie. We must begin to do the work of shifting our biases. As a community, we must create a dialogue for progress. We can use our positions of power in the real estate community to help advance equity through housing and career opportunities, and by holding our leaders accountable.


For our part, CBA will continue to be an association of growth and acceptance. We will work to find ways to become more welcoming to everyone. As an industry, while we build up our city, we will build communities of respect.


We are hopeful for a future of health, peace, and equity. Let's be there for one another.


Thank you,

Commercial Brokers Association

A Message from CBA


Information is rapidly changing.  GBREB will update this post as new information becomes available. There's a lot of information about government's response to COVID-19, however we have narrowed the focus of this page to issues impacting the real estate industry to serve as a resource for our members. 

Additional information, including legal advisories are available to members here .

Reopening in Massachusetts 5/18/19
Phase 1 Re-Opening Safety Standards For Workplaces , EOHED, 5/12/20
Re-opening: Four Phase Approach, EOHED, 5/12/20
Advisory on Residential Evictions , Massachusetts Attorney General, 5/8/20
Short-term residential rentals, Department of Public Health, 3/31/20
Mortgage Loan Borrowing , Division of Banks, 3/25/20
Constuction Letter With Guidance  3/25/20
COVID-19 ESSENTIAL SERVICES  Order of  the Governor Assuring Continued Operation Of Essential Services  
Essential Services FAQ
SMOKE ORDER Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Inspections for One and Two-Family Dwellings and Three to Five-family Apartment Buildings
Standing Order Housing Court
DHCD Resources For Renters and Homeowners

Rental Relief Fund
Guidelines For Open House and Apartment Showing Policy
Construction Update 5.6.20
Construction Notice 3/25/20
Construction Permitting 3/16/20


Building Owners and Managers, BOMA Boston, BOMA International
Multifamily Apartments, Massachusetts Apartment Association, National Apartment Association   
REALTORS, Greater Boston Association of REALTORS, Massachusetts Association of REALTORS, National Association of REALTORS
Commercial Brokers Association
Real Estate Finance Association


  Caritas Communities  

As we all navigate through these COVID-19 times, it is important that we keep in mind those who are being hit the hardest. CBA's charitable partners is Caritas Communities , an organization that provides housing and support to extremely low-income individuals in Greater Boston. In these new trying times, their residents are in need of help. We ask that you consider helping out in any way you can by making a donation here.

A message from Caritas Communities:
Our residents are among those being hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. They often work in hourly, low-wage jobs without benefits, and have no savings to cushion the hard times. Your help is needed for two programs that are helping our residents right now: 

Homelessness Prevention Program: Emergency rental assistance grants will provide residents who have lost income due to COVID-19 the financial relief and peace of mind they are desperate for right now.

Healthy Resident Program: Emergency meals, food panties in our properties, enhanced cleaning protocols, commercial hand washing stations in shared kitchens and baths, hand sanitizer, and more, are helping to keep our residents safe and healthy.

You can make a difference! Gifts in any amount will make a big impact on our struggling residents. Thank you. 

COVID-19: How You Can Help

The CBA Achievement Awards will now be held on Wednesday, June 24 at the InterContinental Hotel. 

For all information regarding this year's awards, please visit .

Held annually, the CBA Achievement Awards bring together 550+ of the most influential leaders and decision makers from the Massachusetts brokerage industry. Prestigious Deal of the Year awards are presented along with special recognition awards for individuals and companies. Awards are voted on by members of the CBA, and winners are traditionally announced the night of the awards. The CBA Achievement Awards are the largest gathering of the year for the CBA.

Any additional questions, please contact Kayla Burmeister at or 617-399-7863.

To register, please fill out this form and email to Alex Levine at


COVID-19 Update from CBA

We are thinking of all of those impacted by COVID-19. As we navigate through these challenging times, we would like to help be a resource for our members and the community.


We ask that you follow guidelines that are recommended by the local and federal government. Resources can be found here: MassGovCDCWHO.



What Can We Do?

To assist those less fortunate, we hope you will consider supporting our Charitable Partner, Caritas Communities, or your local food bank.



Helpful Tips to Stay Healthy:

- Wash your hands

- Keep your hands away from your face

- Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze

- Practice Social Distancing

- Work from home



Doing Our Part

As a reminder, CBA in-person meeting and events will be postponed until further notice. This includes the CBA Achievement Awards.


The CBA Team and GBREB Staff have the option to work from home until approximately March 27th and we will update members with any information as needed. The best way to contact us is via email, but we will be checking our voicemails with limited access.


Our top priority is our members staying safe. CBA will do our part in keeping you informed with any updates we receive via email communications and twitter.


*If you have registered for an upcoming event prior to April 17th, you should have heard from the CBA staff about next steps. We will continue to update members with information about future events.


Stay safe and healthy!


Update from CBA: Achievement Awards Postponed

Given the increased concerns and circumstances around the Coronavirus, and in response to Governor Baker’s State of Emergency and other recommendations, we wanted to share our plans for CBA events.

To ensure the safety and well-being of our members, all CBA Events will be cancelled or postponed through Friday, April 17th. This includes postponing the CBA Achievement Awards originally scheduled for Tuesday, March 31st.

The CBA Achievement Awards will now be rescheduled for this Spring at the InterContinental Hotel.
Once we confirm a new date with the hotel, we will be to sure to communicate with you and our entire membership.

No action is required of you at this time. CBA will continue to promote the awards and the new date on and our social media.

If the new date does not work for you and your guests, you may cancel and request a full refund. Please contact Alex Levine at or 617-399-7874 to do so.

Any additional questions please contact Kayla Burmeister at or 617-399-7863.

We will continue to monitor both state and health official recommendations and will communicate changes of our scheduling with our members. All updates will be shared with our membership via emails and on all our social media sites.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit the CDC website and/or the resource page.

We apologize for this interruption, but the safety of our members and their families is our first priority.


Upcoming Events

CBA Charitable Golf Tournament
Dedham Country And Polo Club
CBA Achievement Awards - NOW SEPTEMBER 24, 2020
Virtual Event