The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a publication to inform the public of a scam that specifically targets real estate transactions. As a result, the agency has encouraged vigilance before moving forward with a real estate transaction.
What is this scam? The agency explains that the scam involves use of cyber-attacks to gather information about an ongoing real estate deal. Based on this information, the cyber criminals will intercept funds transmitted during the transaction. Instead of completing the transaction with an intended seller, the buyer unwittingly sends the funds to the criminals.
How serious is this scam? Unfortunately, the scam is growing. The FBI reports there was a 1,100 percent increase in the number of reportedly compromised business emails or accounts in 2017.
This translated to over 9,645 victims of this scam in 2017 alone.
Can clients protect their real estate transactions? Those who are interested in real estate deals can still make the most of this thriving market. Proactive steps to protect your interest will mitigate the risk of becoming the victim of a scam. The agency recommends the public avoid conducting these transactions online. The FBI states the criminals target emails to further their scam. The cyber-criminals will monitor emails and then use the information to move forward with their plans to intercept the funds.
Clients can also reduce the risk of issues like this when moving forward with a real estate transaction by using legal counsel. An attorney can advocate on your behalf during the negotiation of the deal and help better ensure your interests are protected throughout the transaction process.