Scams and fraud have become so prevalent that the National Association of Realtors recently warned its members and consumers about a wiring scam during the closing stages of home buying. While it may seem like there are endless ways for scammers and hackers to take advantage, there are some ways that consumers can protect themselves. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to recognize and avoid common real estate scams. Here are some great tips to help agents, home buyers and sellers to avoid being scammed.
Do not send any sensitive information via email. This includes banking information, social security numbers or anything that may compromise your identity.
Don’t click on unverified email. Always verify that you know the sender. If it looks suspicious, delete the email immediately.
Beware of wire fraud. Before wiring any funds, call the intended recipient at a number you know is valid to confirm the instructions and be wary of any request to change wire instructions you already received.
If you suspect fraud or are the victim of fraud, tell someone. Make sure to notify any parties that might also be affected and report the incident immediately to the Federal Trade Commission or Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Do not use unsecured Wi-Fi. It’s tempting to sign into free Wi-Fi, but be aware that it may be less secure. Don’t check on banking information or other private information at your local coffee shop, restaurant, grocery store or any other public space. Only access this information from the security of your home or a secure network, such as your place of business.
The best way to beat scammers and hackers is to use an abundance of caution on any online activities. Prevention and awareness are key to protecting yourself from cybercrimes.