There's nothing more exciting and nerve racking than buying a house. With summer being a popular time to buy, the Better Business Bureau says scammers are targeting home buyers right now.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, scammers hack the email accounts of buyers and real estate professionals, including agents and title companies. They then send a message from the compromised account to the buyer with fraudulent wire instructions, claiming there’s been a last-minute change to the wiring instructions for the down payment and closing costs. The customer is then directed to pay closing costs to a fake bank account.
"Once the money is transferred, it’s almost impossible to get back," said BBB's Dale Dixon.
If you get an email that seems suspicious or asks you to change course on your closing procedures, keep these tips in mind:
Verify independently: Call the professionals involved; do not respond to the email directly.
Don’t email sensitive financial information: If you are doing any part of your home buying process online, ensure you are on a secured connection, and the site is secure before entering any information. Look for an “https” preceding the web address.
Dixon says scammers are also trying many versions of these phishing emails targeting not only homebuyers.
"They’ll impersonate friends sending a video, insurance agents sending a quote, or work colleagues sending a file. Do not click links or download attachments in unexpected emails. You could expose your device to malware. Remember, if scammers have hacked an email account, they can see how previous correspondence looks and make their fake email very convincing," Dixon said.
For more information visit www.bbb.org.