Wire fraud has become more common in the real estate industry with criminals using creative new attempts to target home buyers, home sellers, real estate professionals and title companies. Here are a few tips to help protect yourself against wire fraud.
Don’t Email and Call to Verify
Do not email your wiring instructions. If you are using free email providers like Gmail or Yahoo, you are putting yourself at higher risk for hacking. It’s better to call and confirm all wiring instructions with your title company by phone. But be sure you to use the phone number that is listed on a company’s website or business card and not rely on any phone numbers in email signatures.
Be Suspicious and Do Not Click
Do not open links/content/attachments from unverified emails, especially when dealing with financial information. Cybercriminals have a way of spoofing company emails so double check what you receive. Be suspicious of any emails or phone calls asking for personal or banking information.
Change Your Passwords Frequently
Many hacks take place because of a simple password that was easily guessed by a cyber criminal. Changing your passwords on a regular basis and not using the same password for multiple applications and websites can help deter hacking. You can also set up two-step authorization as an added layer of security.
Update Your Firewall and Anti-Virus Software
Anti-virus software helps keep your computer protected from the latest threats so making sure it is up-to-date is vital. Outdated firewall and anti-virus software can leave you open to cyber-attacks.
Being vigilant is imperative in today’s real estate market. This fast-growing form of real estate cyber crime is estimated to have diverted or attempted to divert nearly $1 billion from real estate transactions last year alone. The bottom line is that if you have a feeling something is off, trust your gut and do not click or respond. Instead pick up a phone, or better yet, meet in person to verify.