Dympna Fay-Hart
Serving Chicago Area Sellers & Buyers

(773) 230-3800

Send me a message

FTC Warning About Growing Home Mortgage Closing Phishing SCAM

The Federal Trade Commission issued a warning to consumers of a growing mortgage closing phishing scam that could leave buyers with no down payment.

Scammers are hacking into e-mail accounts of buyers, real estate agents and/or title companies in order to access information about the closing date. They then send an e-mail to the buyer and pose as either the real estate agent or the title company.  In the e-mail, scammers will say there’s been a “last minute change” to the wiring instructions for the funds for the closing and instruct buyers to send the funds to a different account.  Of course, this account belongs to the scammers.  If you send money there, you will not get it back.

If you are buying a home and get an email with money wiring instructions . . . do not follow through.  Your real estate agent and/or title company will not ask you to send financial information over an email.  Email is not a secure way to send financial information of any kind.

To avoid becoming a victim to this scam, as well as other email phishing scams, take note of the following tips from the FTC:

  • Never e-mail your financial information. E-mail is not considered secure.
  • Check the security of the website. For any financial information you provide over the web, check that the site is secure. The URL should begin with https.
  • Watch what you click on. Do not click a link in an e-mail to go to an organization’s site. Instead, look up the real URL and type it into the web address yourself.
  • Be cautious about opening attachments and downloading any files from e-mails.
  • Make sure your operating system, browser, and security software are up-to-date.

Source: “Homebuyer Beware: FTC, REALTORS® Issue Warning on Mortgage Closing Cost Phishing Scheme,” HousingWire (March 18, 2016) and Federal Trade Commission