Buying a home is a significant financial investment. Unfortunately, circumstances that involve a large transfer of money may also become a target for cyber fraud. “In 2017, the real estate industry will remain one of the top targets for cyber criminals because we are involved in transactions with large sums of money,” explained Chris Kelly, chief administrative and legal officer, ReeceNichols Real Estate. “Additionally, the industry has proven to be a target due to the high volume of email we send and receive.”
At ReeceNichols we are working diligently to stay informed and taking the steps we can to help protect our clients. While some of this may seem common sense, it’s important to understand just how legitimate these phishing scams may come across. In fact, we’re now asking our clients to sign a form during a transaction to ensure you are aware of these possible scams, as well as to share information on how to protect your private financial information. We have also implemented a two-step verification process to all of our email accounts as an extra security measure.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
When buying or selling a home, you are involved in a transaction where money is changing hands – making you a potential target for cyber-criminals. These sophisticated criminals could try to hack your email account or the emails of others involved in your transaction, and direct you to send a wire to the hacker’s account. They can even send emails that appear to be from your agent, closer or other trusted source. If you receive wiring instructions, even if it appears legitimate, do not take action without first verifying the request. Always call to confirm such instructions.
Likewise, be cautious when closing with another company. Contact the closer directly before wiring any money to ensure it is the closing company you’re transacting with. Do not use a phone number or other contact information from an email. Use a business number from another source (like the closing company’s website) to make sure you are talking with your closer, not a potential criminal.
We’re always available if you have a concern. We will do our best to answer any questions you may have and can also connect you with resources if you believe you have been the target of such a scam. Contact us anytime at 913.402.2599.