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BEWARE - SUSPICIOUS EMAIL AHEAD....

by Michael H. Wasserman 


We live in a terribly unsafe world transacting real estate purchases and sales. There is a lot of money passing between Buyers and Sellers and Lenders and Title Insurance Companies. Unfortunately, there are a great many scammers out there trying to divert those funds away from the deal and into their pockets.

In the coming weeks, I intend to write about several new rules and protocols being implemented to try to avoid calamities of this sort. For now, I wish to alert Realtors and other lawyers about an increasingly common email fraud. 

I am seeing multiple emails every day from lenders and title companies with the seemingly innocuous email caption: HUD-1 Approval***.

Hud-1, of course, the form number for the federally mandated settlement statement used in most every residential purchase/sale and mortgage re-finance transaction. We need these forms in order to advise our clients of their closing costs and the amounts of money they need to deliver (or expect to receive) from closings.

The messages read - to one extent or another -
Hello
Please find HUD-1 Approved!
CLICK HERE to view attached
Thanks

Unfortunately, these are phony links and fake messages. DO NOT CLICK THRU

these message take the reader to a phishing web site posing as a google docs page.

Be smart, be safe

check to see if the sender is a known/trusted closing partner.
ask yourseelf, if this the way he/she normally sends me my closing statements?


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Zoiks! Real estate scams up 480%

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You read that right, A 480 percent increase according to a May 2017 PSA from the FBI. Its Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Scammers are targeting wire transfers with alarming frequency. As state law mandates the use of wire transfers for most real estate transactions, it's vital that every buyer, seller and professional be vigilant to prevent fraud. Here's what to look for and what you can do to help protect your money - your deal.

Check the Source: Wire transfer fraud typically starts with a "phishing" email that looks ok at first blush, but is a fake. Real-looking but fraudulent emails may contain:

A slightly different email address. It could be just one character off. Or using a correct name but from a free account, like gmail, aol or yahoo.

Legit-looking logos and email footers. Remember, logos can be downloaded from public websites from title companies and banks.

A working phone number for confirmation. So, if/when you call the…