Here are some of the threats you should look out for if you’re in the real estate industry:
Business Email Compromise (BEC)
A type of cyberattack that tricks a business into wiring money to a criminal’s bank account. The hackers do this by spoofing email addresses and sending fake messages that seem like they are from a trusted business professional, such as the CEO or a company attorney. The FBI has found that multi-billions in business losses can be attributed to BEC. The FBI also says that real estate companies are specially targeted in these attacks and every participant in the real estate transaction is a possible victim.
Mortgage Closing Wire Scam
Prior to closing on the sale of a home, the buyer receives an email from their real estate agent, title attorney or other trusted service professional with specific details of the time, date and location of the closing. In this same email, there are detailed and urgent instructions on how to wire money for the down payment but to a criminal’s bank account. Within moments of the wire transfer, the money is withdrawn, and the cash disappears. A report by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center totals the number of victims of the mortgage closing wire scam ballooned to 10,000 victims, an 1,110 percent increase in the years 2015 to 2017 with financial losses totaling over $56 million, a 2,200 percent increase.
Another threat to real estate companies is ransomware. This is the type of malware that makes the data on your device or network unavailable until you pay a ransom. This is very profitable for hackers and it is becoming more and more popular. All it takes is one member of your team clicking on a link in an email, and all of your data could be locked.