VIDEO: Florida Land Title Association Issues Scam Alert
By Bobby Freeman, Realtor // August 8, 2015
'Hackers, email phishing and other cyber-related crimes are at an all-time high right now'
ABOVE VIDEO: If you receive a call from someone claiming that your Windows computer has been hacked, hang up because it’s a scam. They will tell you to go to a website (such as www.ammyy.com) to install software that will let them access your computer and this will fix the problem. The problem, those scammers will now have access to your computer and personal information. (The Cocoa Beach Life Video)
The Florida Land Title Association (FLTA) contacted their members by email to warn them about a scam that’s occurring more often – a scam that often involves real estate agents representing buyers, even sellers and title companies have been targeted.
“Hackers, email phishing and other cyber-related crimes are at an all-time high right now,” the email states.
“Hackers have targeted real estate transactions – and real estate agents in particular – in an attempt to defraud lenders, real estate brokers, title companies and law firms.”
FLTA says several agencies have been victims, in some cases, more than once.
There are a number of tactics scammers use to steal real estate clients’ money. Often, they gain access to an agent’s email account, which means finding the password.
They check the email account regularly to monitor communications between the agent and client but usually do nothing else.
A day or two before closing, however, they email the buyer via the agent’s usual email account explaining a change in payment wire instructions, and they request that a certified check be sent to the scammer’s account.
“Email services such as AOL, Yahoo!, Hotmail, Gmail, etc. offer little to no protection in terms of encryption and security measures,” FLTA’s warning states.
FLTA says it had one case where “the hacker created an email address “email@example.com” and persistently communicated with the seller during the transaction, trying to extort money, stall and retrieve sensitive information.”
In another case, “the hacker created a similar email domain of the title company, along the lines of “firstname.lastname@example.org,” which was altered to “email@example.com” with the email signature line of the actual settlement agent.”
This time, the scam artist sent a buyer fake new wire instructions and information about a change in funding procedures.
According to FLTA, many business insurance policies, including “title insurance (as it is not yet bound) or E&O,” won’t cover losses. And even cyber theft insurance many not pay because a party was fooled into sending the funds.
It suggests that title companies contact their insurance provider to see what coverage they have and types of coverage they should consider.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bobby Freeman, a life-time resident of Brevard County, has been a top Realtor in the area for two decades. In his first year as an agent, Freeman received a Rising Star award from his Brokers. Since then he has achieved numerous sales awards and has recently been presented with the prestigious RE/MAX Hall of Fame Award.
Freeman, Jennifer McCoy and Nikki McCoy Freeman are family partners for RE/MAX Elite’s McCoy-Freeman Group. Together they have more than 30 years of extensive experience in all aspects of the real estate industry and have sold over $200 million.
Among McCoy-Freeman Group’s achievement are RE/MAX Hall of Fame, RE/MAX 100% Club, Certified Distressed Property Experts (CDPE), Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) and voted Best Realtor in Brevard County.
The group has been featured in many news publications including CNN Money Magazine, CNNMoney.com, WFTV 9 ABC News, Coastal Condo Living, & Hot Retirement Towns Magazine and SpaceCoastDaily.com.
For more information log on to BrevardRealtyConnection.