Wire Fraud and Realtor Phishing Attacks

by Osman Parvez
You may have heard that there's a scam out there with bank wires and earnest money.  Here's how the phishing attack starts. 

Your Realtor receives an email that looks like the screenshot below. It looks like an offer on a listing. 

The link leads to a Russian site where your email account will be compromised. Later, in the middle of a deal, the buyers will get an email containing phony wiring instructions that appears to be coming from their Realtor. 

The originating email is coming through a compromised email account at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), used to bypass Google's filters.  

This is why if you ever receive wiring instructions from your Realtor, call them immediately. You should always obtain wiring instructions directly from the title company or bank, after calling them directly from a public phone number.  Even better, let the bank obtain wiring instructions directly from title and handle it themselves.  

Red flags: The property address isn't mentioned.  No phone number either.  And why would a real estate broker be using an RIT.edu email address? 

Note:  Phishing is a form of fraud in which a message sender attempts to trick the recipient into divulging important personal information like a password or bank account number, transferring money, or installing malicious software. Usually the sender pretends to be a representative of a legitimate organization

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The ideas and strategies described in this blog are the opinion of the writer and subject to business, economic, and competitive uncertainties.   We strongly recommend conducting rigorous due diligence and obtaining professional advice before buying or selling real estate. 

Please Note

This document contains forward-looking statements. You are strongly cautioned that investment results are subject to business, economic and other uncertainties. There are no guarantees associated with any forecast and the opinions stated here are subject to change at any time. Always consult your financial advisor before making an investment decision.