We all know of the basic dangers and safety implications of our security in personal identity and online transactions. However, even with a relatively informed public, the scam artists seemingly always find ways to success. The Denver real estate market is the latest, and somewhat surprising area in which to be hit by modern scammer audacity.
The New Real Estate Scam
First, we must say that the real estate industry of this major city is certainly full of professionals well aware of security protocol and signs of scams. Regardless, the area has been hit with a new set of particularly quick-witted and effective tactics by the scammers. Interestingly enough, these repeat attacks are exposing a simple yet generally quiet point of vulnerability: the legitimate real estate transaction.
In these cases, the new and highly effective angle of the scam is to actually come between the transaction-involved clients and real estate agent. From here, access is gained to the transaction money. This is much opposed to those older methods we are typically aware of such as fake sellers, fake deeds, and cover-ups of true home conditions.
In one such new breach and successful money theft, the hacker waited until the time of the sale and associated money transaction to quickly and cunningly intervene. Here, a buyer was set to make the wire transfer to the seller's title company for a Denver real estate purchase. Just before this took place, the buyer was contacted by what appeared to be the title company and instructed to change the destination account where the money would be sent to. The buyer happily obliged and later found out that the lump sum of nearly $83,000 that was sent was now gone and in the pocket of some unknown hacker online.
In another case to hit the Denver real estate market, an Arvada real estate agent discovered that someone had breached her email account and had been impersonating her and making exchanges with clients. One client was nearly convinced to send a $65,000 down payment to a different account than what had been designated earlier by the actual realtor. This client became suspicious and luckily did not send the money.
Warnings, Lessons Learned
In many of these kinds of cases in Denver and elsewhere, the scam itself can often be avoided by a good measure of awareness and those age-old, hammered-in safety rules we always hear about. If a change in accounts is asked for, contact the realtor by phone to confirm. These transactions carry a lot of money. In addition, try to pay such large payments directly to an actual company as opposed to a bank account. Go through phone or official website routes first. Be aware, and like the last client, don't just send off that $65,000 to some alternate account just because an email instructed you to do so. Discretion is key.
This latest sweep of scams that has hit the Denver real estate market specifically has been quite cunning. However, it does require from the scammed a certain level of indiscretion that we are all quite capable of superseding. This is great news no matter how bad the story. In the end, remember to use discretion, and soak up a valuable lesson from those like the victims in Denver.