We’ve seen how technology has redefined the real estate business – making our home buying and selling experiences faster and more convenient, and putting more useful information in the hands of consumers and Realtors alike.
But advancements in modern technology have also given rise to a new security threat. According to9 the FBI, real estate-related cybercrime approached nearly $1 billion in money “diverted or attempted to be diverted” in 2017,
Here’s how it happens: Cyber criminals hack into email accounts owned by either title companies or real estate firms, then zero in on home transactions that are in progress. At that point, the criminal can pose as a real estate professional, email the home buyer, then ask foe buyer to wire funds for the upcoming closing into the criminal;s bank account.
If your closing is around the corner, Dave recommends these five measures for keeping wire fraud from spoiling your transaction:
- Work with a real estate brokerage and title company that’s covered by a cyber insurance policy. To qualify for insurance, real estate professionals must adhere to strict cyber security practices. A recent industry survey found that seventy four percent of real estate firms lack a cyber insurance policy.
- How were the wire instructions sent to you? To play it safe, only accept instructions that are delivered face-to-face or voice-to-voice. Digital delivery should only be facilitated through secure encrypted email.
- Before you send funds to any individual or company, call the title company or closing agent to confirm the validity of the wire instructions.
- Since wire instructions rarely change, be wary of an email that alters previous instructions or communicates a change of closing plans without verbal confirmation. If that happens,m contact the Realtor or title company to verify changes.
- If you do believe you have been victimized by wire fraud, contact your local FBI field office immediately.
Call me to ask about Coastal Pacific Real Estate’s cyber insurance policy and our cyber security practices.