If you’re getting ready to buy a house, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) are urging you to be vigilant about who you trust. Unfortunately, scammers have had success stealing the closing costs of homebuyers by posing as representatives of title insurance companies, realtors or real estate agents. The more you know about this scam, the easier it will be for you to spot it and steer clear of it.
How the Scam Works
The process a hacker goes through to steal your closing costs typically goes something like this:
- The hacker finds a way to access your email account and learns about mortgage or real estate transactions you have coming up.
- The hacker sends you an email and tells you to wire the closing costs to a different account than you were originally given. In order to convince you, he or she poses as the title company or the real estate agents you have been in contact with throughout the home-buying process.
- If you are convinced of the hacker’s authenticity and wire the money to the scammer’s account, your money will disappear (most likely forever).
Scams like this are not new, but that does not minimize the devastation they can cause if you fall for them.
What You Can Do
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to avoid becoming a scam victim. If you receive unexpected attachments in an email, don’t open them, even if they appear to be from a trusted source. You can find out if an email is legitimate by contacting the company through a known phone number (not a phone number provided in the questionable email).
Avoiding phishing scams can be tricky, but protecting your new home doesn’t have to be. If you live in close proximity to brush fire zones or have trouble securing insurance for any other reason, Free Fire Zone Inspections can help. Contact us to schedule your free inspection.