Hackers scam homebuyers by pretending to be real estate agents

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Federal Trade Commission says criminals are hacking into email accounts and stealing money from people buying new homes.

If you’re planning on buying a new home, you might want to close the deal in person instead of online.

Criminals are pretending to be real estate agents to steal your money online.

Here’s how it works: you’re about to buy a new home, and everything’s ready to close, when your real estate agent or title company emails you, asking you to wire the closing costs to a bank account, instead of giving them a check in person.

The Better Business Bureau says you might want to double check with your real estate agent, or you could be wiring thousands of dollars into a criminal’s bank account.

The Federal Trade Commission says hackers have been breaking into real estate agents emails, finding closing dates, and then emailing the buyer.

If you’re about to become a homebuyer, we have some advice to help you avoid becoming a victim:

The Better Business Bureau says you should never change a transaction based on an email.

If someone tells you there has been a change in plans, check it out before you send over any money.

Call your agent or title company and make sure the new payment plan is legitimate.

There are ways you can spot this scheme on your own.

The Better Business Bureau is urging you to be wary of unexpected emails with links or attachments. You shouldn’t click on anything if you don’t know what it is.

Think about how the company usually gets a hold of you. If it’s by phone, you might have a good reason to be suspicious if they suddenly start sending you emails or text messages.

You can’t always believe what you see. Just because an email looks real, doesn’t mean it is. Criminals can send you fake information from a company’s email address.

Lastly, if something seems suspicious, check the company’s website or give them a call.

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