FYI — The NJCCIC continues to receive reports from members involved in real estate transactions – including agents, lawyers, title agencies, and buyers – detailing incidents in which they were targets of profit-motivated hackers who attempted to defraud them out of thousands of dollars. In a recent incident, hackers impersonated a title agency by spoofing their email address and sent wire transfer instructions to homebuyers requesting their closing costs. In similar schemes, hackers have targeted and gained access to the legitimate email accounts of real estate agents, title agency representatives, paralegals, or homebuyers via compromised account credentials and then used their accounts to send convincing emails to targeted victims. The subject and body of these emails often portray a sense of urgency in an attempt to have targets immediately wire money before they have an opportunity to fully review the email’s content and question its legitimacy. In most cases, these scams are relatively simple for the criminals to conduct, but the consequences can be devastating. The NJCCIC recommends homebuyers and real estate entities educate themselves and others on these malicious tactics and remain vigilant during and immediately after the closing process. We highly recommend real estate businesses, including real estate attorneys and title agencies, implement new policies aimed at preventing fraudulent wire transfers and other scams. For example, including disclaimers in email signatures warning the recipient of these scams, and forbidding the sharing of wire transfer account information via email and instead utilize video chat applications, phone calls from trusted numbers, or in-person meetings. Additionally, homebuyers should never trust email as the sole source of instruction for wiring money related to these transactions and instead receive confirmation of these details in person or over the phone.