Scammers Stealing Down Payments By Hacking Real Estate Agents’ Email Accounts

Scammers Stealing Down Payments By Hacking Real Estate Agents’ Email Accounts


BUYING THE HOME IS THE BIGGEST PURCHASE THAT MOST OF US WILL MAKE OVER THE COURSE OF A LIFETIME. NOW HACKERS HAVE FIGURED OUT HOW TO STEAL. THE DOWN PAYMENT IS WHAT THEY ARE STEALING. AND IT’S LEAVING BUYERS WITHOUT A HOME AND WIPING OUT THEIR LIFE SAVINGS. JULIE WATTS REPORTS. TIMING WAS IMPECCABLE. Reporter: LIKE MOST REALTORS, KRISTINA E-MAILS CLIENTS ALL DAY LONG. BUT CRIMINALS HACKED HER G-MAIL ACCOUNT, MONITORED CORRESPONDENTS, AND WAITED FOR THE PERFECT TIME TO STRIKE. USING KRISTINA’S E-MAIL ACCOUNT, HACKERS SENT A MESSAGE TO ONE OF HER CLIENTS TELLING THEM TO WIRE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS TO A FRAUDULENT ACCOUNT. IT’S CRAZY BEING WATCHED AND KNOWING THEY HAVE BEEN READING ALL OF OUR E-MAILS. Reporter: THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS AND THE FBI ARE ISSUING WARNINGS ABOUT SOPHISTICATED E-MAIL SCAMS TARGETING THE E-MAIL INDUSTRY. NATIONWIDE PHENOMENON UNFORTUNATELY. Reporter: AND MATT FULLER OF THE SAN FRANCISCO ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS WARNS REALTORS ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES BEING HACKED. AGENTS E-MAIL IT COULD BE A TITLE COMPANY, IT COULD BE A LENDER, IT COULD BE SOMEONE ELSE. Reporter: THE HACKER’S GOAL, IMPERSONATE SOMEONE INVOLVED IN THE REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION BY SENDING E-MAILS FROM THEIR ACCOUNT INSTRUCTING BUYERS TO WIRE MONEY. USUALLY JUST ABOUT THE TIME THE BUYER IS EXPECTED TO MAKE THE PAYMENT. THEY’VE BEEN WATCHING US ALL ALONG AND READING ALL OF OUR CORRESPONDENTS. THEY CALLED ME ASKING HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THIS AMOUNT. Reporter: THE FBI AND THE REALTORS ASSOCIATION STRESS ANYONE IN THE HOUSING MARKET SHOULD VERIFY INSTRUCTIONS EITHER ON THE PHONE OR IN PERSON. AND NEVER WE’RE MONEY UNLESS

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