Q&A: REAL ESTATE SCAM ALERT

QUESTION: I received a last-minute change to my down payment wiring instructions. What should I do?

ANSWER: The Federal Trade Commission and the National Association of REALTORS® recently warned homebuyers about a new scam. Here’s how it works: After breaking into a consumer or real estate professional’s email account to spy for upcoming real estate transactions and closing dates, hackers email the homebuyer (posing as the agent or title officer) with a last-minute change to the wiring instructions. If the buyer wires money to the account, it may never be recovered. Worse yet, they could lose the home they’ve been waiting for. When it comes to email communications about wiring money, keep the following in mind:

  1. If you receive wiring instructions from any source via email, verify it by phone yourself.
  2. Don’t email financial information. It’s not secure.
  3. If you think you’ve received a phishing email, report it to the FTC immediately.

Learn more about protecting yourself from phishing, what to do if your email is hacked, and steps you can take if you’re a victim of identity theft.

Source: FTC.gov

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