Security Update – Mortgage Closing Phishing Scam
The Federal Trade Commission and the National Association of Realtors have issued a warning, for consumers to be mindful of a growing mortgage closing phishing scam that could leave buyers without a down payment.
Here’s how the scam works: Hackers break into a realtor’s email account to get information about upcoming real estate transactions. By monitoring the agent’s email traffic, the hackers can learn the identities of buyers and sellers, the name of the title company, and the date of a scheduled closing. The hacker then sends an email to the buyer, posing as the real estate agent, or title company, notifying them that there has been a last minute change to the wiring instructions, and instructs the buyer to wire the closing costs to a different account. If the buyer takes the bait and wires their money to this bogus account, they will likely never see the money again. Sending money by wire transfer is both immediate and permanent.
If you are in the process of closing your mortgage and receive an email with wiring instructions, STOP. Contact the company through a phone number that you know to be legitimate to verify the instructions.
Do not use a phone number, email address or link provided in the email you received. If the sender asks for specific financial details, such as your bank account number or credit card information, do not reply. Legitimate agents and title companies will not ask for this information by email, since it is not secure.