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June 6th, 2017 8:46 AM


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People are much easier to “hack” than technology and there are so many scams out there currently to trick people into providing access to sensitive information.  Some schemes even target the real estate industry.  It is important to know about these scams:

PHISHING, pronounced “fishing,” is a time-tested treachery which involves sending emails pretending to be from reputable companies in order to entice individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.  It works because the message appears to come from a trusted source, such as your bank.  It usually contains a link or an attachment that needs your immediate attention.  Fear and urgency are often used and many times succeed.

Clicking the link takes you to a page that resembles the actual vendor, where you are asked to enter your current username and password and your NEW password.  DO NOT DO IT!  The phisher will then have access to your account.  Those links/attachments can also silently download and launch ransomware, malware or viruses that sniff out confidential information. 

To protect yourself, never click on links in emails.  No reputable site sends links requesting a password reset.  If you are concerned, go to the site on your own and log in normally to see if there is a real situation.

VISHING is similar to phishing, but done by voice over the phone, with the scammer pretending to be someone else.  If you receive a call from a vendor asking for sensitive information, tell them you’ll call them right back, . . . .  but when you do, use the contact information on file for that vendor or company.  This way, YOU are initiating the call and can be certain you are talking to the correct individual.

REAL ESTATE WIRE FRAUD has been an ongoing problem for the past several years and is a state- wide concern.  For over two years, hackers have been hijacking email accounts belonging to real estate licensees and other parties to transactions, (such as lenders, attorneys, title companies, etc.) to learn about pending transactions and likely closing dates.  The scammer then poses as a party to the transaction and sends the buyer false wiring instructions.  Since the scammer knows several key facts about the transaction, it is easy to construct a plausible message and trick the buyer into wiring money into the wrong account.  When sending money to close on a home, BE SURE TO VERIFY ALL ACCOUNT NUMBERS AND ANY CHANGES BY MAKING A PHONE CALL to the attorney or title company handling the closing BEFORE wiring any funds!!  Many sellers and buyers have lost thousands of dollars to this type of scam and it is still happening.  Work with your real estate agent closely to CONFIRM that all information is correct. 

We live in a massive world of technology which has given us endless conveniences but unfortunately, it has also opened up the door for unscrupulous individuals to commit fraud and take advantage of honest and trustworthy individuals.

Written by Barbara Doeringer

Posted in:Real Estate
Posted by Allen Doeringer on June 6th, 2017 8:46 AMPost a Comment

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