- Officials warn of a scheme to divert money from real estate transactions into the accounts of cybercriminals.
- Consumers and real estate professionals need to watch for these cyber attacks.
- Land Title Association of Colorado tipped off state officials.
A fraud scheme that diverts money from real estate transactions into the accounts of cybercriminals has put Colorado state divisions on alert.
Consumers and real estate professionals need to be aware of this scam, the Colorado Division of Real Estate and the Division of Insurance said late Friday afternoon.
The divisions, both part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies, received information about this scheme from the Land Title Association of Colorado, a title insurance trade organization.
This is how the cyber crime works. Cybercriminals hack into the email accounts of real estate brokers. Then, the cybercriminals send email messages out of the real estate broker’s account without their knowledge, according to the statebagencies.
They then use the hijacked email accounts to send messages requesting funds be wired into fraudulent bank accounts.
The email looks legitimate and will often have transaction specific information in the body of the email or as an attachment. The cyber crime is so sophisticated it can include the names of the buyers, the names of the sllers, the property address and file numbers.
The cyber fraud focuses on earnest money deposit releases, buyer’s funds to close a transaction and seller’s proceeds from the sale of their home.
Scams such as these reflect the increased technical sophistication of computer hackers and cyber criminals, according to state officials.
The Division of Real Estate is notifying all Colorado licensed real estate brokers to be aware of these types of cyber fraud.
The Division of Insurance, which regulates the title insurance industry, will coordinate with Land Title Association of Colorado, to ensure title insurance agents and agencies are also informed.
If you are currently involved in a real estate transaction, contact your real estate broker, lender, and/or title insurance company to ensure that everything is progressing as it should, state officials said.
In addition, be on the lookout for unusual emails or responses to emails you have not sent.
If you believe you have been the victim of such a scam, report it to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office through www.StopFraudColorado.gov.
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