Cybercrime is posing a risk to an increasing number of real estate transactions, with home buyers’ down payment funds the main target of scammers. Thank you to REALTORmag for sharing this important information regarding our industry.
Criminals are targeting home buyers by sending emails that look like they might come from their real estate agent or attorney. The emails may contain signatures, fonts, and logos that are identical to the originals. The email then usually claims the plans for submitting the down payment have changed and provides new instructions to wire funds to an account. However, if buyers follow those new instructions, they often lose their funds forever.
Hackers go undetected, stealing your identity, gaining access to your accounts, creating emails and web landing pages seemingly authentic enough to fool even the most vigilant.
We always warn clients of this potential for fraud when wiring funds and alert them that any email communications regarding funds, wire transfers, etc. would absolutely be fraudulent.
Keep an eye on changes to email addresses. The hackers are clever. Look for slight variations like firstname.lastname@example.org being changed to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, etc.