October 05, 2017

Be Wicked Smart About Phishing

It's October AND National Cyber Security Month! We want to help you be wicked smart about keeping yourself and your information safe and secure, and what better time than now? Today's topic? Phishing. You've probably heard of phishing scams, but The National Association of REALTORS® warns against a phishing scheme that specifically targets homebuyers into handing over their settlement fees.

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. Here's how:

4 tips to help you avoid phishing scams:

  • Don't send financial information through email. It's not secure. 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.

Learn what to do if your email account is hacked. If you gave your information to a scammer, visit IdentityTheft.gov.