More and more people are falling victim to email scams, and the stakes are raised when it comes to real estate. With the rise of technology comes higher risks of breaches in internet security, which means even as a title agent you and your clients can be affected by such risks. Read on to learn how to stay better protected as well as how to prevent any potential fraud.
Email Spoofing Spreads
Hackers are intercepting information contained in emails between buyers, sellers and title agents, and using that information to get access to the money being transacted. They will monitor the transaction until it is about to close, and then send a spoof email, typically changing the instructions for wiring a downpayment so that it would go into the scammer’s account. Spoofing means the sender changes the email or email address to look like it was sent from an organization or person the recipient trusts. These can be part of a phishing scam, in which the sender can obtain information like passwords, bank account info, and other confidential information to use for their own gain. While some instances may be done by manually changing email settings, many times it is through a virus or malware.
How Do We Protect Clients?
The biggest way to help protect your clients from these scams is by informing them. Now that you are aware of the rising problem, you can warn your clients too. Let them know the ways in which you will be contacting them and what kinds of things you would contact them about. For example, sending your clients a letter stating you will never email them about changing transaction details.
You can also learn to recognize the signs of a scam. Signs may include: spelling mistakes, strange links or attachments, a sense of urgency, or threatening messages. The best thing for a client to do is call you directly to confirm what they received is something you sent, or if they receive something that doesn’t seem right.
How to Prevent Email Fraud?
There are several precautions that can be taken by you, your company, and your clients to prevent being victimized by email fraud.
- Routinely change your password every 6 months
- Invest in security protection on your website or software to prevent hacks and data breaches
- Don’t input important confidential information over public wifi
- Report any suspicious activity to a manager, IT and security, or even the authorities if necessary
While email scams can always to be avoided, it becomes serious and damaging when it comes to the client’s money. If hit by a scammer, the money, including loan funding, can be stolen through a real transaction leaving the client with a huge financial loss—not to mention your reputation takes a huge hit too. It’s important to take these scams seriously as a title agent. It’s never too late (or early) for your company to take steps to prevent and recognize these email scams.