Email Scams Targeting Real Estate Transactions
It’s a busy time for real estate professionals as they contend with high transaction volume during year-end closings. But hackers are busy, too, and the National Association of REALTORS® has received reports that sophisticated e-mail scams are targeting the real estate industry.
In the typical scam, the criminal hacks into the email account of a real estate agent or other person involved in the transaction and uses information that’s been acquired to dupe a party to the transaction, usually the buyer, into a fraudulent wire transfer. The hacker will send a legitimate-looking, email informing the buyer of a last-minute change to the wiring instructions, and then the money is gone!
NAR Legal Affairs has developed a checklist to help you recognize and avoid this kind of fraud and be prepared. Top tips include:
- Do not send sensitive information via email. If you must, use encrypted email.
- Do not click on unverified email.
- Do not conduct business over unsecured Wi-Fi.
- The party wiring money should never send money without first verifying the recipient by phone (calling only a verified phone number).
- If fraud is suspected, contact all parties to the transaction without delay.
– Robert Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine
Access the full article from NAR Legal Affairs as well as the checklist and links to additional resources on REALTOR.org.