Email scams have become more and more sophisticated as technology progresses. Recently, buyers have become victims to targeted email scams that have gone as far as attempting to rob them of their closing costs.
These types of scams can be very devastating during the process, especially when you’ve worked so hard for your money. In order to help protect you from these types of sophisticated scams, Movementum Realty has created a few tips so that you can avoid them.
This type of scam attempts to “fish” for sensitive personal or financial information, which allows them to access your passwords and credit card information. The emails that are sent by these hackers look very real and appear legitimate; they may use the name of a trusted company or individual as the sender name, however you should keep an eye out for the verified email address that they have originally provided and verify it with them to make sure it hasn’t changed.
These types of email messages may also require for you to click on a link. Unfortunately, by doing so you might have allowed the hacker to gain access to your computer and might have allowed the hackers to install harmful software on your computer if you’ve followed their prompts.
Wire Transfer Fraud
This scam has been specifically targeting home buyers! The scammer asks that buyers wire their closing costs to a purposely wrong bank account. The email typically crafts some urgent scenario, such as a last-minute change in wiring instructions, and urges the recipient to act quickly by wiring the money to the new account. This scam has actually proven to be successful and home buyers have unfortunately lost their closing costs to these scammers and have been unable to get it back.
Email scams that request for wire transfers are very dangerous because the emails appear to be sent directly from the real estate agent, the mortgage lender, or their attorney. They look very legitimate and professional and can even include detailed and accurate information to the real estate transaction.
How You Can Avoid Falling Victim to Email Scams
Don’t fall for these scams! Follow some of these safety tips so that you don’t become a victim.
Verify the sender email address. Make sure that any emails you receive are legitimate by contacting the sender directly. You can get their phone number and give them a quick call to verify the information that they have provided prior to responding to the email or clicking on any links on the email.
Verify that the email address is legitimate. When you receive emails that appear to be from your real estate agent or attorney, check to make sure the sender’s email address does not contain anything unusual, like typos or special characters.
Never share sensitive information via email. Real estate agent’s will never ask you to send sensitive information in an email. If someone is requesting personal or financial information to be sent via email, then this can be a red flag that you must consider and make sure you don’t fall for it.
Don’t touch an email that looks suspicious. If an email requests that you click on links or to download anything, DO NOT PROCEED! These links or attachments could be malware that will harm your computer. Your real estate agent should always give you a heads up in person or through a phone conversation that there will be a link on an email that will be safe to navigate. If they did not warn you, then call the agent before clicking or downloading the link.
Always use strong passwords. Passwords should never be easy to figure out! When creating a password, it’s not recommended to use your name, pet name or birthdays. Make sure that you use strong passwords that contain a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters, and make sure that you keep updating them as much as possible. If it’s hard to remember all the password combinations for different sites, then consider using a password storage system like LastPass that will save all those passwords for you.
Report suspicious emails. If you receive an email that seems suspicious, make sure you report it to the Federal Trade Commission. You might have saved yourself from falling into these traps, but there’s other people that might not have been as lucky.
Contact Us to Learn More
Movementum Realty is always up to date on the ever-evolving technology, so we like to provide as many tips as possible to ensure that our clients do not fall for these types of scams that can hinder their ability to purchase or sell their home. Give us a call and we’ll make sure to provide you with more helpful information!