Buying a house can be a stressful experience. It takes a lot of time and effort…not to mention money to find the home you always wished for. Heartbreakingly, the dreams of many have become a nightmare thanks to mortgage scams. Scammers are preying on homebuyers more than ever by hacking their emails.
Predators strike at the most sensitive times and leave no paper trail behind. While this may sound scary, don’t let it deter you from finding the house of your dreams. We’ll go over how these scams work and what to look out for.
How Do These Mortgage Scams Happen?
The most common hacking scam involves wiring money for a closing. Hackers routinely go through email accounts looking for correspondence between humans and closing agents. Just by reading your emails, they can determine where in the home buying process you are.
If you are in the closing stages, the chances that a yellow-flagged email from your closing agent is sitting in your inbox is pretty high. Once the hacker knows when your closing date is, they strike around the 24th hour. This is because stress is at its highest. Buyers expect crazy last minute things to pop up and just want it to be over.
Not to mention, anything and everything about your financial history has been asked and required to be seen during this whole process. That’s why by the end of things, people tend to be a little laxer on the sensitive information they fork over.
Hackers will duplicate your closing agent’s email templates and make fake email addresses. These emails can be quite convincing because they make exact replicas of correspondence you’re accustomed to seeing. The scammers will have you wire money to an account. They will draw from this account and there goes your closing fees.
How to Avoid Mortgage Scams?
During closing time, be skeptical of any changes. This is your money. Sure, you may be on a deadline but wire transfers have no insurance. Once your money’s gone, it could be gone for good.
If you think you have been tricked, react quickly. Track down where you transferred the money and put a hold on it. If the money was picked up, call the cops in that area’s location.
Pay extra attention to odd emails where plans change. Look at the email address. A lot of times these hackers will make an email address that is just one letter off from your actual closing agent’s.
Lastly, get in contact with your closing agent on the phone before you do anything with money. Sensitive matters like this shouldn’t be taken for granted. Contacting someone and actually speaking to them will go a long way in clearing up any confusion.