Buyers Beware! Hackers are stealing your real estate down payment from right under your nose
Hackers are getting creative when it comes to stealing your money – and this time it’s right from under your nose.
For the past few years the most common way to thieves stole from first time homeowners was to steal the deed or personal data but a new cyber crime has been on the rise. According to National Association of Realtors attorney Jessica Edgerton hackers are getting into the personal data of real estate professionals and or buyers that are involved in the transaction and then they send the buyer(s) emails with instructions to change the down-payment so they can steal the payment.
“The hackers are definitely getting in the middle of transactions,” she said. “Their vehicles for getting there are not only between a real estate professional and the buyer. They break into a number of accounts.”
Hackers are getting into the real estate agents personal email accounts to access email accounts of professionals involved in the real estate transactions … and here is where the waiting game begins.
“They sit back and collect information about an upcoming transaction until ‘go’ time. And then they send this very-timed, very convincing because they have been collecting data, email to the buyer —either from the hacked email, or from a very cleverly spoofed email account,” she said.
The emails of the daring hackers will often tell buyers that last minute changes have been made and that they need to follow the instructions to wire the money but instead of going to the real estate or bank it goes to the hackers account instead.
“From the standpoint of real estate professionals the best practice is to educate yourself from the start” says, Edgerton.
Edgerton also said “real estate professionals and buyers should always verify transactions independently to avoid this kind of devastating thievery”
Edgerton added “the more people know, the less these guys are going to be able to get ahold of your transactions”
If you think you might be a victim or suspect your transactions have been hacked, contact the FBI or your local police deportment to make a report of the scam. After contacting the authorities give your bank a call to try to make a stop payment and hopefully a full refund.