“Scams targeting real estate transactions are on the rise, according to the FBI. Experts say there are many simple ways that consumers and real estate professionals can protect themselves and each other.
Cyber crimes (crimes carried out by digital means) have become so common, the FBI has created an Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) to address them. According to its website, “From calendar year 2015 to calendar year 2017, there was over an 1,100% rise in the number of BEC/EAC [business email compromise/ email account compromise] victims reporting the real estate transaction angle and an almost 2,200% rise in the reported monetary loss.”
The IC3 reports there were 9,645 victims of real estate fraud in 2017 alone.
Most commonly, a scammer will hack into a buyer’s email and monitor it. When the scammer sees emails between the buyer and their real estate agent, they wait until the transaction is imminent and at the last minute, they send the buyer a fake email made to look like it is coming from the agent asking the buyer to have the money for the purchase wired to a different account.”
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