Buying a home can be one of the most exciting times in a person’s life, but it can also be one of the most stressful. Fast moving homes in hot markets make the process feel like one misstep could make you miss out on the home you’ve spent months searching for. Even worse, falling for a mortgage closing email phishing scam could cost you a lot more than a prospective home, it could cost you your down payment.
Mortgage Closing Scams Are Dramatically Increasing
The FBI reports that through a socially engineered phishing scam, scammers attempt to divert closing costs and down payments to accounts by impersonating or spoofing real estate professionals emails and supplying the buyers with fraudulent wiring instructions. Capitalizing on the high pressure and urgency of the closing process, these attempts have been wildly successful, amounting to nearly $1 billion in real estate transaction costs in 2017 alone (according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). Not surprisingly, this success has caused an increase in these types of phishing attempts of 1,100 percent between 2015 and 2017 (most recent year data is available).
Real estate professionals are the primary means of preventing and eliminating these scam
Who Is at Risk?
Although the buyer is the primary target and source of the funds, real estate professionals stand to lose clients and reputation by being involved in these scams. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau suggests that scammers typically pose as “real estate agent, settlement agent, legal representative or another trusted individual.” The key element here is trust, and the violation thereof between individuals involved in the transaction. Real estate professionals therefore also stand as the primary means of preventing and eliminating these scams by taking steps to secure their communication with clients, coworkers and other individuals involved in the closing process. Buyers trust real estate professionals to guide them through their home buying experience and it must be done in a conscientious and secure manner to ensure this is avoided.
How to Protect Yourself
Cloudphish was built to protect you and your clients in just such a scenario and we are working hard to enlist real estate professionals and buyers alike to eliminate the threat of lost funds, time, and deal collapse from the closing experience. Whether you are a buyer, realtor, or other entity involved in the closing process, you should be aware of how Cloudphish can secure your correspondence and prevent this from happening to you.
Cloudphish Validates every email between trusted parties
This means it will be immediately apparent when you read your email (directly from your existing Gmail or Outlook inbox) if an email is illegitimate. Impersonated email attempts will be identified and the risk of being fooled can be dramatically reduced.
Cloudphish authenticates your devices
Even if your account is hacked and the scammer is reading and sending emails from your account, they will be still identified as fraudulent unless the hacker is in physical possession of your computer or phone which is extremely unlikely.
A few minutes spent creating a free account and inviting your clients or agent to do the same could save you thousands.
Cloudphish allows you to define your trusted parties
Only those individuals who you establish a relationship with (ie realtor, client, attorney, etc.), likely in the weeks and months leading up to the final closing, will be able to send you authenticated emails giving you complete control over the sources of email you trust and those you don’t.
Real estate professionals and buyers alike should insist that email correspondence be handled through the security provided by Cloudphish. A few minutes spent creating a free account and inviting your clients or agent to do the same could save you thousands.
Cloudphish Offers a New and Effective Level of Security
Cloudphish seeks to empower you and your contacts. It takes the guesswork out of identifying phishing emails within your network of correspondents. It protects both you and your reputation today and in an evolving environment. Don’t leave your email security to chance, give us a call at (617) 960-2871 or send us an email today. We’d be happy to help.