Buying a home this spring? If so, watch out for this cunning new con. A recent alert from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns that scammers are hacking into email accounts and instructing homebuyers to wire closing costs straight into their pockets.
How the Scam Works:
You are buying a home, and everything is ready for your closing. Then, your real estate agent or title company emails with new instructions. Instead of bringing a check to your closing, you need to wire your closing costs to a bank account.
Don't do it! You'll be wiring thousands of dollars into a scam account. Hackers have been breaking into the email accounts of real estate professionals. They search for information about upcoming transactions. After figuring out the closing date, the hacker sends an email to the buyer, posing as the agent or title company.
Never accept a change to an agreed transaction based on an email. If someone tells you to deviate from a previous plan, especially one that involves thousands of dollars, check it out before you send a dime. Call your agent or title company and make sure the new directions are legitimate.
Tips to Spot a Phishing Scam:
For More Information
Read the full alert from the Federal Trade Commission. For real estate agencies, mortgage firms, and other companies interested in protecting their business from hacking, check out BBB's 5 Steps to Better Business Cybersecurity.