The American Dream, to own our slice of realty, is something most of us work toward. It can be exciting to have a place of your own to plant roots and start up a new life. After all the searching and the negotiating, you’re finally ready to sign the contract… and then find out your settlement fees have been stolen.
Hackers have been using an email and money wiring scam in order to steal closing deposits from buyers. They’ve been accessing some real estate professional’s email accounts in the hopes of acquiring as much information on the transaction as possible. Once they have the closing dates, the scammer sends the buyer an email posing as their trusted realtor, or title company, requesting the funds be sent to a new account after a last minute change has been made to the wiring instructions. By replacing the legitimate account, hackers fool the unsuspecting victim into depositing all the closing costs into a their account.
Should you be in the mist of purchasing and receive an email with money-wiring instructions, please do not respond to it. Realtors and/or title companies should never request such sensitive information via email.
Contact your agent on the phone, verify the instructions with them and do it in person.
- Email is never a secure way of sending private information.
- If you’re giving your financial information online, make sure the site is secure (https://)
- Don’t open attachments from unknown senders. Verify with known senders prior to downloading anything.
- Keep all your anti-virus, firewalls and browsers up-to-date.
- Report all phishing emails to the FTC
To learn more about protecting yourself from cyber threats, visit our site MySecurityAwareness.