GR Home Team Clients & Friends – NEVER discuss or send wire info via email to anyone. If you plan to wire funds – always call us directly to make those arrangements.
Breaking News – We have been notified that a closing yesterday afternoon was canceled due to the fact that the wired funds were intercepted by hackers resulting in a loss of $180,000. It appears that the buyer’s email account and password were hacked and all transactional communications were intercepted by the hackers. This enabled the hacker to pose as the title company representative (using the title rep’s name that was familiar to the buyer), set up an account, and direct that the funds be wired to that account. The buyer even received notification that the wire was successful, all the while not realizing that he was communicating with a hacker. Unfortunately, the buyer was aware that his account has been previously hacked but didn’t do anything to remedy it and didn’t realize it would impact his closing. The FBI has been notified and is investigating. We have recommended that NAR be notified as well.
NAR Notice – Cyber Fraud: One threat hitting the real estate industry particularly hard is a scheme that leads to wire fraud. It starts with email password hacking, which grants criminals access to money wiring correspondence. Johnson says passwords are usually acquired through a phishing scheme, and once they’re in, they study your email and wait for wire instructions. They use the opportunity to send their own bogus wire instructions to clients. The money is sent to a fraudulent account, usually offshore, and is gone forever. One way to protect your clients is to be open and honest with them about this threat, Johnson says. “Get these consumers on alert,” she says. Tell them to be wary and careful when transferring funds, or don’t send instructions via email at all. Some brokerages are starting to forbid it, she says.