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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.


Did you miss our September Newsletter? Read about upcoming BOMA Boston events, news, and educational opportunities!

Read the September BOMA Enews.

September 2020 E-News

The BOMA Affiliate Spotlight promotes the excellent service and valuable products of BOMA Boston's Affiliate members. 
A BOMA Affiliate Spotlight email will be sent out Tuesday's of every week. To be featured, please contact Courtney McHugh,

September Affiliate Spotlight Companies
Pritchard Industries

BOMA Affiliate Spotlight

BOMA Boston TOBY & Industry Awards Call for Entries are Open!

Do you know a building or CRE Industry Member that should be recognized? Submit a nomination today!

Each year, the TOBY (The Outstanding Building of the Year) & Industry Awards recognize industry excellence in property management, building operations, and service. There are 17 categories for TOBY Awards, and 10 categories for the Industry Awards. Since the TOBYs are nationally recognized, the Local winners move on to the Regional competition, and hopefully the International competition.

BOMA Boston's local TOBY & Industry awards are one of the largest in the country in terms of participation and attendance amongst other BOMA chapters, with all members contributing to some aspect of the awards program in one way or the other. 

If you are interested in submitting your building for a TOBY Award the  is where you can review all the call for entries and category requirements, detailed information about the awards process and more. If you plan to enter a building this year, please notify BOMA Boston of the building and category by  at your earliest convenience.

BOMA encourages all CRE professionals to consider nominating deserving colleagues for the 2020 Industry Awards.

Important Deadline - EXTENSION

All Industry Nominations and Building Entries: Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Building Award Categories

Under 100,000 Square Feet

100,000 - 249,999 Square Feet

250,000 - 499,999 Square Feet

500,000 - 1 Million Square Feet

Over 1 Million Square Feet

Corporate Facility

Earth Building

Historical Building

Industrial Office Building

Laboratory Building *local level only

Medical Office Building

Mixed Use

Public Assembly

Renovated Building


Suburban Office Park (Low-Rise)

Suburban Office Park (Mid-Rise)

Industry Award Categories

Rising Professional of the Year

Property Manager of the Year (Low-Rise)

Property Manager of the Year (Mid-Rise)

Property Manager of the Year (High-Rise)

Property Manager of the Year (Suburban)

Property Manager of the Year (Facility)

Engineer of the Year

Chief Engineer of the Year

Affiliate Member of the Year

Affiliate Company of the Year

Visit the for more information or to submit a nomination. Please direct any questions to Kayla Burmeister,


Call for Entries TOBY & Industry Award Nominations

Did you miss our July Newsletter? Read about upcoming BOMA Boston events, news, and educational opportunities!

Read the August BOMA Enews.

August 2020 E-News

NEW Property Manager Certification Program
Finally, the commercial real estate industry has a professional certification that provides early recognition for foundational knowledge and guides the next generation of property managers toward greater responsibility and success in their careers: the Certified Manager of Commercial Properties (CMCP)

CMCP is the only certification of its kind for early career commercial property managers – you may qualify with as little as one year’s experience

Instantly communicates your ability to be an effective commercial property manager with a strong understanding of the responsibilities of the role

Offers recognition early in your career and increases your value to your company and the industry

Signals to employers you have the potential to advance and grow in your career and can navigate the fast-changing world of commercial real estate

Boosts confidence by validating your knowledge of fundamental commercial real estate operations and management principles

May increase your chances for promotion and/or additional responsibilities and opportunities

Learn more here! 

CMCP for Emerging Professionals

BOMA Boston is proud of our members by giving back to the community, always, but especially in these times. See below for some good stories during these troubling times.
If your company or a peer is doing something great to give back, feel free to email Courtney McHugh, to be featured on this page.

BOMA is proud of our Benefit Sponsors who generously donated their sponsorship dollars and dozens of members who purchased raffle tickets online for a combined total of $45,000 that we were able to donate to our charitable partner, Bridge Over Troubled Waters! Every year, Bridge Over Troubled Waters serves over 2,000 homeless, runaway and at-risk youth. Right now, with schools closed, many hourly jobs shut down, and some unsafe home environments, Bridge provides crucial shelter, food, resources and social services for the youth of Boston. Click here to view their website and donate!

Rockhill Management's highly anticipated Food Hall, High Street Place, was set to open in March between Federal Street and High Street in Boston.  Although the doors have not yet opened, several of the restaurant partner's are still there cooking meals for front-line workers during the COVID-19 crisis in hospitals in the Greater Boston area. Click here for the full story. 

In March 2020, Siena Construction completed a fast-track laboratory conversion project for the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, providing an important addition to the scientific research challenges posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Click here to view the full story.

BOMA Members from Progroup Contracting are raising funds to purchase Ipads for local hospitals with COVID-19 patients to ensure that they are able to connect with their loved ones. Click here to donate.

By purchasing meals through Feed the Frontlines Boston, you will help fuel the extraordinary efforts of our city's healthcare workers while also supporting our local restaurants and employees. With your support Viga Italian Eatery and Shed's BBQ can delivery healthy, fresh and free meals to Boston's amazing doctors, nurses and medical staff. Click here to take action!

BOMA Gives Back!

Did you miss our July Newsletter? Read about upcoming BOMA Boston events, news, and educational opportunities!

Read the July BOMA Enews.

July 2020 E-News


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BOMI Real Estate Investment And Finance - Online Course
Oct 07, 2020 - Dec 02, 2020
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BOMI Environmental Health And Safety - Online Course
Nov 10, 2020 - Dec 11, 2020
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BOMA Golf Tournament - Sold out!
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BOMI Environmental Health And Safety - Online Course
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Why BOMA Boston?  Hear from BOMA Members!