Internet fraudCybercriminals targeting home buyers and sellers nationwide. Tips on how to protect yourself from the Colorado Division of Real Estate.

 

This past February, a Colorado seller lost over $80,000 from the sale of their property to one of these scams.

How do the scams work? Often the computer hackers monitor email exchanges between the parties of a real estate transaction and gain specific information, such as the buyer and seller names, subject property address and file numbers. As the closing date approaches and arrangements are made to wire the money to the closing company, or wire the proceeds from the sale of the house to the sellers, the scammer will send a last-minute email from a hijacked account or similar looking email address updating the wiring instructions to request the money be transferred into a fraudulent bank account. The email looks legitimate and often contains the transaction specific information the hackers obtained in the body of the email or as an attachment.

Buyers and sellers can take just five minutes by reading the below tips to protect themselves from becoming a victim of wire fraud:

  • Verbally contact your title company closer: Prior to wiring any money, you should always verbally contact your real estate broker to confirm that the wiring information is accurate. Do not rely on telephone numbers or website addresses provided within an unverified email.

  • Do not email financial information: Emails and texts are not secure methods to transmit financial information.

  • Keep a record of websites that hold your financial information: Before providing that information, confirm that the websites in which you input financial information are secure. Look for the URL to start HTTPS, the “S” stands for secure.

  • Don’t click on links: Don’t use links to get to websites. Instead, search and find the company and directly link to their website from your search.

  • Update your computer: Keep your operating system, browser and security software up-to-date.

‚Äč‚ÄčThis information is from the Colorado Division of Real Estate.