OMG… It’s Wire Fraud
While Congress investigates the Russians hacking the election, the real danger is right here, right now and it may or may not be clandestine nerds in a foreign country. Whoever it is, they are hacking into our emails and shadowing us to learn who we email, what we say and even how we say it.
They look for key words and in the case of real estate the magic words are “escrow, earnest money and closing funds.”
Several title companies report stories similar to this. A Buyer gets an email saying that wiring instructions have changed, please send your closing funds (down payment) to this new account. The email is even signed by the Escrow Officer the Buyer has been working with. They even insert a phone number to call to verify and guess what? A friendly voice answers to confirm the change.
Title companies are going to password encrypted emails and agents are warning clients early and often, but be careful. The hackers are out there. Protect your privacy. Think before you type in sensitive information or numbers. Vigilance is our best defense.