Jersey Realtors warn home buyers about scam that can cost bigtime
The New Jersey Realtors Association is warning about the latest scam that could cost a prospective home buyer some serious money.
A hacking/phishing scam produces phony communications to home buyers, requesting transaction payments.
"Hackers are getting into emails from Realtors, from attorneys, from title companies, and they are spoofing those emails, and they are finding real estate transactions," New Jersey Realtors President Tg Glazer said.
He says once they find them, very often they will monitor those transaction and wait until it is getting close to the closing, and then they might fabricate an email to a potential buyer that looks like it is coming from their real estate agent or their attorney or the title company that says the buyer needs to wire money to a certain number. The unsuspecting buyer wires that money and once they have wired it, very often it is gone.
According to Glazer, the hackers are also very good at creating fake company email sites or websites, so that you think that you are going to a website of a legitimate company.
"It is a very scary thing, and that is why one of the things that we are trying to do is get the word out."
Glazer advises buyers to never wire money for this, and establish up front with the broker early on how the payment will happen "so that everybody is on the same page, and the likelihood of this happening can be dramatically reduced."
He says real estate agents are telling their clients at the beginning of the transaction that anytime that you get an email, you always want to confirm. Also confirm anytime anybody is asking for something different than has been previously discussed.
"Anything that comes to you in an email, don't touch it until you have picked up the phone and called the person and ask them if it actually came from them and is legitimate," Glazer said.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor at New Jersey 101.5.