WASHINGTON – April 8, 2016 – Scammers hacking into the email of a real estate agent or lender to pilfer closing funds has become such a big concern that the Federal Trade Commission worked with NAR to post an alert about it on its website.
The alert outlines the typical way a scam works. First, the scammer hacks into the email of someone involved in the transaction—the agent, the lender, the title agent, or the buyer or seller—and uses that access to discover details of the transaction, including the closing date.
Then, as the closing date nears, the scammer, using an email from an account very similar to one used by one of the settlement providers, directs the buyer to wire closing funds to a shell account. And that’s the last that’s seen of that money.
One brokerage is trying to head off this type of scam by requiring its agents to have clients sign a notice that makes clear they will never be asked to transmit money by email. That way, if they’re ever instructed to do so, they will know not to fall for the ruse.
Source: REALTOR® Magazine, Rob Freedman