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How to Protect Yourself from Cyber fraudCyber Fraud

How to Protect Yourself from Cyber fraud

04 Oct 2019

If you are new to the real estate world, one of the most important things you need to learn is how to protect yourself from cyber fraud – a growing threat affecting more and more real estate buyers and sellers every day. Read on to learn what red flags to look out for and how to protect yourself.

 

According to the 2018 Internet Crime Report from the FBI, they recovered approximately $192 million in funds from fraudulent business transfers, which amounted to about 75% of all the funds reportedly stolen. In the real estate category alone, the amount of money stolen from victims of cyber fraud was over $149 million, which means hackers are especially interested in real estate transactions.

 

Why Do Cybercriminals Target Real Estate Transactions?

 

The answer to that question is rather simple – real estate transactions continue to be targeted by hackers because they are very lucrative. The more money involved, the more attractive a transaction will be for a cybercriminal. While a bank robbery nets about $6,500 on average, a typical wire fraud nets a considerably higher amount. Traditional thieves are limited to how much cash they can carry during a heist – cybercriminals do not have to deal with such limitations.

 

Real estate cyber fraud is one of the fastest-growing cybercrimes in the United States. According to the FBI, there were 301,580 complaints in 2017, and losses exceeded the astonishing amount of $1.4 billion. In the real estate and rental sector alone, approximately 9,600 victims lost over $56 million that year.

 

Why is Email Cyber Fraud So Difficult to Detect?

 

Staying ahead of cyber fraud is proving to be quite a challenge for real estate professionals all over the country. Despite significant investments by all sectors to prevent this issue, real estate professionals must stay as well informed as possible regarding the ever-evolving methods cybercriminals use.

 

The way hackers target you is by impersonating your realtor or title company through email addresses that are confusingly similar to those of your real estate representatives to request wire transfers. It is hard to explain how easy it is to be fooled by this simple but effective trap. However, there are things you can do to protect yourself.

 

How to Prevent Cyber Fraud in Three Easy Steps

 

The good news here is that preventing cyber fraud is easy – all you need to do is be careful. The following are some steps you can take to protect yourself:

  1. Be cautious when communicating via email as fraudsters can easily hack web-based email accounts. They usually do a great job imitating companies. If you suspect an email you received could be from a cybercriminal, call your realtor or title company immediately.
  2. Always make a verification phone call to confirm wiring instructions with your realtor or title company. If you receive an email requesting wire transfers or outlining changes in payment instructions or confirmation requests, verify it immediately with your real estate representative. This email may be an attempt to steal your personal information.
  3. Be alert and patient as hackers commonly try to make you think you need to take immediate action by clicking a link or following specific instructions as urgently as possible. Your real estate representatives will rarely ever ask you to do anything with such urgency. These emails usually come in more frequently around your closing date.

How to Keep Your Money Safe

 

The best way to stay protected is to work with a Title Company that can ensure your information and your money are always safe. When you work with Marina Title, we do our best to prevent cyber fraud during the closing process.

 

We can ensure you have a safe closing experience – contact us today by calling (305) 901-5628 or by sending an email to Romy@MarinaTitle.com.

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