Criminals begin the wire fraud process long before the attempted theft occurs. Most often, they begin with technique called “phishing”. It can be in the form of emails, website forms or phone calls to fraudulently obtain private information. Criminals trick users into inputting their information or clicking a link that allows hackers to steal log in and password information.
Once hackers gain access to an email account, they can monitor emails to find someone in the process of buying a home. Criminals can use the stolen information to send fraudulent wire transfer instructions disguised to come from a professional you’re working with to purchase a home, including real estate agents, title companies, attorneys or consumers. If you receive an email with wiring instructions, don’t respond. Email is not a secure way to send financial information. If you take the bait, your money could be gone in minutes.
5 Tips to protect you against wire fraud:
Forward, don’t reply: When responding to an email, hit forward instead of reply and then start typing in the person’s email address. Criminals use email address that are very similar to company’s real address. By typing in an email address, you will make it easier to discover if a fraudster is after you.