If you need assistance, please call 801-661-1557

Utah Division of Real Estate announces statewide campaign to warn of growing email scam

Tuesday, June 25, 2019   /   by Jessica Salazar 801.416.3344

Utah Division of Real Estate announces statewide campaign to warn of growing email scam


Utah Division of Real Estate announces statewide campaign to warn of growing email scam







The Utah Division of Real Estate launched a new public outreach campaign to warn the public of an email scam that targets property transactions.


Francine A. Giani, executive director of the Utah Department of Commerce, announced Monday that a rapidly growing scam coerces respondents into wiring payments and other high dollar real estate proceeds to con artists’ accounts.




Giani said in a prepared statement:


Utah’s real estate market is red hot and scammers are looking to profit millions off the backs of our hard-working citizens. Be smart and question any email message that looks different from what your real estate agent or title company instructed you to do. If something seems off, call your agent or title company over previously established phone numbers to verify any changes.

A public service announcement video is airing on local television stations and a statewide billboard campaign is being offered to reach Utah audiences through the end of August about the real estate scam.




A press release stated that the email scam targets real estate agents, title companies and their email accounts to gain access to message traffic that tips off fraudsters when transactions are scheduled to fund consumer loans.


It is commonplace that within 24 hours of a transaction closing, fraudsters use an email account to send new wiring instructions to the buyer, seller, title or escrow agent, lender, real estate agent or brokers.


The new wiring instructions often have the funds directed to a bank account outside of the country. By the time the fraud is recognized, the money has already been withdrawn from the fraudulent bank account and it is too late to locate the criminal or recover the funds, the release stated.


TIPS FOR REAL ESTATE CONSUMERS



    • Be wary of last minute emails with changes to the transaction.

    • Be wary of last minute emails with changes to the transaction.

    • Contact email senders by telephone using a phone number you have independently verified.

    • Never send wire transfer information via email. For that matter, never send any sensitive information via email, including banking information, routing numbers, PINS, or any other financial information.

    • Do not email financial information. It’s not secure.

    • If you’re giving your financial information on the web, make sure the site is secure. Look for a URL that begins with https (the “s” stands for secure). And, instead of clicking a link in an email to go to an organization’s site, look up the real URL and type in the web address yourself.

    • Be cautious about opening attachments and downloading files from emails, regardless of who sent them. These files can contain malware that can weaken your computer’s security.

    • Keep your operating system, browser, and security software up to date.


TIPS FOR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS



    • Inform clients from day one about your email and communication practices, and alert them to the possibility of fraudulent activity. Explain that you will never send, or request that they send, sensitive information via email.

    • Inform clients from day one about your email and communication practices, and alert them to the possibility of fraudulent activity. Explain that you will never send, or request that they send, sensitive information via email.

    • Prior to wiring any funds, the wirer should contact the intended recipient via a verified telephone number and confirm that the wiring information is accurate. Do not rely on telephone numbers or website addresses provided within an unverified email, as fraudsters often provide their own contact information and set up convincing fake websites in furtherance of their schemes.

    • If a situation arises in which you have no choice but to send information about a transaction via email, make sure to use encrypted email.

    • Security experts often recommend “going with your gut.” Tell clients that if an email or a telephone call ever seems suspicious or “off,” that they should refrain from taking any action until the communication has been independently verified as legitimate. When it comes to safety and cybersecurity, always err on the side of overly cautioning.

    • If you receive a suspicious email, do not open it. If you have already opened it, do not click on any links contained in the email. Do not open any attachments. Do not call any numbers listed in the email. Do not reply to the email.

    • Clean out your email account on a regular basis. Your emails may establish patterns in your business practice over time that hackers can use against you. In addition, a longstanding backlog of email may contain sensitive information from months or years past. You can always save important emails in a secure location on your internal system or hard drive.

    • Change your usernames and passwords on a regular basis, and make sure your employees and licensees do the same.

    • Never use usernames or passwords that are easy to guess. Never, ever use the password “password.”

    • Make sure to implement the most up-to-date firewall and anti-virus technologies in your business.


For more information on real estate fraud and how to avoid becoming a victim, contact the Utah Division of Real Estate by logging on to www.realestate.utah.gov or by calling 801-530-6747.

Impower Real Estate
Steven & Jessica Salazar
9071 1300 W #205
West Jordan, UT 84088
801-661-1557
801-661-0877

Based on information from the Wasatch Front Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. as of September 19, 2019. All data, including all measurements and calculations of area, is obtained from various sources and has not been, and will not be, verified by broker or the MLS. All information should be independently reviewed and verified for accuracy. Properties may or may not be listed by the office/agent presenting the information.
The multiple listing information is provided by Wasatch Front Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. from a copyrighted compilation of listings. The compilation of listings and each individual listing are © 2019 Wasatch Front Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc., All Rights Reserved. The information provided is for consumers' personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Conspicuous display of the following: Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed accurate. Buyer to verify all information.