FTC Issues Warning About Phishing Scheme Targeting Wires for Closings

Last month we did a TAAR lunch and learn covering security, and these types of scams see here.  The FTC is now also getting the word out.

The Federal Trade Commission and the National Association of Realtors recently issued a warning to homebuyers about email and money wiring scams. Hackers have been breaking into some consumers’ and real estate professionals’ email accounts to get information about upcoming real estate transactions.After figuring out the closing dates, the hacker sends an email to the buyer, posing as the real estate professional or title company. The bogus email says there has been a last-minute change to the wiring instructions, and tells the buyer to wire closing costs to a fraudulent account.

The FTC warns consumers that email is not a secure way to send financial information.

Here are some ideas to help you avoid phishing scams:

  • Don’t email financial information. It’s not secure.
  • If you’re giving your financial information on the web, make sure the site is secure. Look for a URL that begins with https (the “s” stands for secure). Instead of clicking a link in an email to go to an organization’s site, look up the real URL and type in the web address yourself.
  • Be cautious about opening attachments and downloading files from emails, regardless of who sent them. These files can contain malware that can weaken your computer’s security.
  • Keep your operating system, browser and security software up to date.