Cybercrime Targeted Against the Real Estate Industry
The incidences of cybercrime targeted against the real estate industry continues to increase and in particular, a fraud scheme known as the "Business Email Compromise" ("BEC") Scheme.
What is the BEC?
A sophisticated email fraud scheme, a typical BEC begins when the email account of a party to a real estate transaction is hacked and monitored without the party's knowledge. This allows the fraudster to identify the parties and learn the details of the transaction. The fraudster then sends an email that appears to be legitimate and from a proper party (portraying themselves to be either the agent or the loan officer or the closing attorney), directing the entity holding the funds to be used in the settlement of the real estate transaction, to wire those funds to an account controlled by the fraudster. Since everything appears genuine, the funds are wired as instructed only to be stolen by the fraudster.
A new twist...
We are hearing reports from Realtors that a recent twist has been, rather than sending an email back to the agent asking for a wire to be initiated and stop payment put on the seller's proceeds, someone is calling in and portraying themselves as the seller. In most cases, it has been the seller's proceeds that are the target but, we recently learned of a situation where the fraudster targeted the funding from a lender by portraying themselves to the lender/bank as being the agent and supplying new (fake) wiring instructions.
How to reduce your risk.
While most of us can easily recognize email scams, the emails being utilized in a BEC are almost always indistinguishable from legitimate communications. There are a number of measures you can take to reduce the risk of you and your agency from becoming a victim.
Click Here to learn more: Top Ten Tips to Avoid Cybercrime
Thanks for this info to:
Steph Horne | Horne Title and Escrow Services, LLC | firstname.lastname@example.org