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June 08, 2016

Beware of Phishers Trying to Hook Your Closing Costs

Homeownership
Beware of Phisers Trying to Hook Your Closing Costs

Homebuying season can be open season for scams. Don't get caught.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the National Association of REALTORS® warn against a phishing scheme that lures homebuyers into handing over their mortgage closing costs.

Here's how it works: First, a scammer hacks into your email account and your real estate professional's to find out about your closing. Then, pretending to be the real estate professional, the scammer sends you email with revised instructions for wiring over your closing costs. If you follow the instructions, the money will go straight to the scammer's bank account.

Four tips from the FTC can help you avoid this and similar phishing schemes:

  • Don't send financial information through email. It's not a secure method. Real estate professionals should know that.
  • Be sure to submit your financial information only through a secure web site.
    • The site address should start with "https" ("s" for "secure").
    • Instead of clicking the link in email, go to the company's site, find the real address, and then type it into the address bar yourself.
  • Always take care in opening attachments and downloading files from email. They could contain malware that could make your computer vulnerable to a hack.
  • Keep your operating system, browser, and security software up-to-date.

For details on closing your home loan, visit My Home by Freddie MacSM.

Learn what to do if your email account is hacked.

Think you've been phished? Report it to the FTC.

Follow this series to be ready in time for the homebuying season.

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