Unlike other scams that are easy to detect because of grammatical oddities or indirect requests for your PayPal or Bank Account information, the new email scams involving wired funds for a real estate transaction can typically look legitimate.
Basically, online criminals are now going after the home buyer funds typically wired by the buyer to the closing real estate Attorney or Title & Escrow service company. The scam requires the hack of an email account of anyone associated with a real estate transaction. If the hacker is able to access the names and dates associated with a real estate transaction, this can be enough to create fraudulent emails dealing with a change in the wiring instructions for the funds needed to close the purchase transaction.
The National Association of REALTORS® is urging all real estate professionals ( and Home Buyers) to immediately implement measures to inform all parties to a real estate transaction to be aware of these online hackers. To only share transaction information through confirmed telephone numbers and face to face communications. Most importantly, prior to wiring any funds, home buyers should use a verified phone number to confirm the wiring instructions for the funds with the intended recipient.
Also, if you are a party to a real estate transaction and something looks suspicious, you should contact the closing service providers and all other parties to the transaction immediately to make them aware of the situation.