Ocean City Today

Hackers target Realtor info in newest scheme

Real Estate Report
By Lauren Bunting | Sep 21, 2017


Printed 09/22/2017


Real estate wire fraud is not breaking news, but hackers are getting savvier in their deceptive ways.

Most common is when hackers break into email accounts to learn about upcoming transactions, then email the buyer to wire money to the hacker’s account.

In the latest evolution of the scam, a hacker will obtain a Realtor’s transaction management/e-signature system login credentials by using a phishing email that looks like it’s from the transaction management system, gaining all the critical information needed to trick a buyer into wiring money directly to the hacker’s account.

Sage Title Group, located in Salisbury, offered the following advice to protect your money from wire fraud schemes when buying a home.

Be vigilant –

• Call, don’t email: confirm your wiring instructions by phone using a known number before transferring funds. Don’t use phone numbers or links from an email.

• Be suspicious: It’s uncommon for title companies to change wiring instructions and payment info by email.

Protect your money –

• Confirm everything: Ask your bank to confirm the name on the account before sending a wire.

• Verify immediately: Within four-to-eight hours, call the title company or real estate agent to confirm they received your money.

What to do if you’ve been targeted –

• Call your bank immediately and ask them to issue a recall notice for your wire

• Report the crime to www.IC3.gov.

• Call your regional FBI office and police.

• Detecting that you sent the money to the wrong account within 24 hours is your best chance at recovering your money.

Lauren Bunting is a licensed Associate Broker with Bunting Realty, Inc. in Berlin.

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