March 18, 2018

Alert: E-mail Scams Hitting Real Estate Transactions

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Alert: E-mail Scams Hitting Real Estate Transactions

It’s a busy time for real estate professionals as they contend with high transaction volume during year-end closings. But hackers are busy, too, and the National Association of REALTORS® has received reports that sophisticated e-mail scams are targeting the real estate industry.

Access the full article from NAR Legal Affairs as well as the checklist and links to additional resources on

In the typical scam, the criminal hacks into the e-mail account of a real estate agent or other person involved in the transaction and uses information that’s been acquired to dupe a party to the transaction, usually the buyer, into a fraudulent wire transfer. The hacker will send a legitimate-looking e-mail informing the buyer of a last-minute change to the wiring instructions, and that’s the last that’s seen of the money. It’s not a distant treat.

NAR Legal Affairs has developed a checklist to help you recognize and avoid this kind of fraud. Among the tips:

  • Do not send sensitive information via e-mail. If you must, use encrypted e-mail. 
  • Do not click on unverified e-mail.
  • Do not conduct business over unsecured Wi-Fi.
  • The party wiring money should never send money without first verifying the recipient by phone (calling only a verified phone number).
  • If fraud is suspected, contact all parties to the transaction without delay.

—Robert Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine.