Quickly identify an email related to "your" home purchase/sale as scam

By
Real Estate Agent with Thompson Company, REALTORS® MD594797

Not too long ago I wrote a blog post warning Silver Spring, MD home buyers and sellers of email scams, a post prompted by multiple alerts via our local REALTOR® association.

This morning I received the perfect example in my in box. As a REALTOR® who receives these kind of emails way too many times, I can quickly and easily identify them as scam. But what about consumers? To sellers and buyers who are in the midst of a Real Estate transaction (some) of these email scams can look legit at first glance and they may just click on the links without giving it a second thought. 

There are, however, a few telltale signs that allow you to quickly identify an email that appears to be related to your home purchase or sale as a scam.

Lately I've increasingly been receiving email scams that appear to come from electronic signature services such as DocuSign. Please note that these services have nothing to do with it and the emails typically do not originate from their websites.

Quickly identify Real Estate emails as scam

1. Move your mouse over the sender's email:

you won't know that person or company and the email address will contain spelling mistakes, titile[at]transactioncordinator[dot]com, for example.

There also may not be anyone listed for To:

2. Emails that actually originate from DocuSign will have DocuSign as the sender and not "closing attoney" or "closing transaction cordinator" (DocuSign is what I utilize, I don't know about other providers).

3. In order to receive a copy of a completed document you must first sign it! Thus, if you haven't been a party to the signing, it's likely a scam. Do NOT click on the link.

4. The links will send you to a different website. Had I clicked on Review Documents or Access Documents - which I didn't - it would have send me to www[dot]docuusign[dot]com instead of www.docusign.com

5. The document attached doesn't correspond to where you are at in the process. You are receiving a "contract" but have yet to write an offer.. you are asked to sign a closing document but have not even completed the inspections..

These are just a few telltale signs. Look for those to quickly identify the email as scam. Do NOT click on any links or download any documents and do NOT follow any "changed wiring instructions" unless a change was previously discussed with your REALTOR® via the title company (a change is highly unlikely)!

When in doubt, just contact your REALTOR®! We are always happy to help and look out for you in so many ways. We'll either know right away or be able to confirm with the right people quickly.

Posted by

ANDREA BEDARD, M.A. ~ THOMPSON COMPANY, REALTORS ~

 

 

   

                                                                                                              

 

Thompson Company, REALTORS
15711 New Hampshire Ave Silver Spring, MD 20905
o: (301) 384-9177 c: (240)593-2860

andreabedard.re@gmail.com

Andrea is a REALTOR® based in Silver Spring, MD. She has enjoyed assisting buyers and sellers since 2004 and focuses on residential Real Estate in  Montgomery and Howard County, MD. Andrea is a proud mom and hobby decorator with a vintage soul. She always answers the phone with a smile, enjoys running and treasure hunting and is addicted to coffee.

 

 All photographs are my own and I'd like to keep it that way. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

 

 

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Topic:
Real Estate General Information
Location:
Maryland
Groups:
1st Time Buyers
REALTOR LIFE
Advice for Sellers
Advice for Buyers
Tags:
scammers target real estate transactions
how to identify real estate emails as scam
telltale signs of scam real estate emails

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Rainmaker
530,396
Robert May
Robert W May - Lethbridge Real Estate - Lethbridge, AB
Real estate consulting

So many scams out there it is near impossible to predict what will happen next.  The crooks sure keep getting more and more creative.

Apr 27, 2016 12:22 PM #4
Rainmaker
2,220,532
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek & Associates LLC Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

Great warning post Andrea Bedard ...these scams are endless and caution is the word of the day with opening any email!

Apr 27, 2016 12:41 PM #5
Rainmaker
1,313,400
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Thanks for the heads up and for the things to watch out for.  This is very scary stuff.

Apr 27, 2016 01:05 PM #6
Ambassador
3,606,612
Patricia Kennedy
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc. - Washington, DC
For Your Home in the Capital

Andrea, there is so much these days coming from Docusign, PayPal, Apple and bunches of other places.  And often the when you click on the sender name, the email address is from a local college.  Or it'll be in some non-familiar alphabet.

Apr 27, 2016 02:34 PM #7
Ambassador
3,249,398
Jeff Dowler
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Andrea

The scams are getting more and more prevalent and yet I think consumers are just not very savvy about these things and all to willing to click. These are great tips! I think we each need to have a conversation with our buyer and seller clients to let them know about the possibility of scams and what to look for, and to be cautious rather than quick to click.

Jeff

Apr 27, 2016 03:13 PM #8
Rainmaker
1,011,680
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Good morning. Unfortunately we have to distrust emails until they have proven themselves to be innocent. Email scams are everywhere.

Apr 27, 2016 08:11 PM #9
Rainmaker
840,278
Janis Borgueta
Key Properties of the Hudson Valley - Newburgh, NY
LIC RE Salesperson - Hudson Valley Homes for Sale

This is so scary. I can't imagine how nervous all buyers and sellers that deal with these docs must be.  Seriously flawed until they can make this more secure.

Apr 27, 2016 09:15 PM #10
Rainmaker
2,470,527
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ

Andrea Bedard "Do NOT click on any links or download any documents and do NOT follow any "changed wiring instructions" unless a change was previously discussed with your REALTOR® via the title company (a change is highly unlikely)!" Extremely sound advice.  I haven't (so far) seen this "Docusign" type of scam email - but have received many other questionable emails that clicking on links therein would yield an equally poor result!  Re-Blog! I'm looking forward to more posts like this from you - so am now "following" you!

Apr 27, 2016 09:33 PM #11
Rainer
360,107
Sham Reddy
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH
CRS

This has become rampant in the last few months!!! Please beware!!!

When in doubt, just contact your REALTOR! We are always happy to help and look out for you in so many ways. We'll either know right away or be able to confirm with the right people quickly.

Apr 27, 2016 09:38 PM #12
Rainmaker
3,098,315
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Andrea Bedard ,

Excellent post!! Your post is full of great advice. It always amazes me the creativity these thieves use in their scams. If only they'd direct to honest ventures..they'd do well!!

Apr 27, 2016 10:06 PM #13
Rainmaker
391,649
Alan Gross
PrimeLending, A PlainsCapital Company - Bethesda, MD
Loan Consultant

Andrea - It's not just real estate you need to be careful of. I do a lot of deleting without opening emails. Everyone needs to heed your advice.

Apr 27, 2016 10:16 PM #14
Rainmaker
2,156,485
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

When I first introduced my wife to the world of Internet, this subject ruined it. She couldn't grasp to be careful and I couldn't explain why satisfactorily.

Apr 27, 2016 10:18 PM #15
Rainmaker
923,688
Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

Thanks for the information.  The scams seem to get more and more creative.  

Apr 27, 2016 11:04 PM #16
Rainmaker
752,517
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Just got a scam faked Purchased Contract coming from Hope College in Michigan.

The spammer was more interested in my Yahoo pw than anything else. He sent to an account that MLS providese for realtors only(private) also.

Apr 28, 2016 12:58 AM #17
Rainmaker
2,376,768
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale - Probate Broker

Andrea,  It is amazing how much spam filters to use every day.  Some of it does look authentic ... yet it does not feel right because we know certain companies would never send info like that via email.  Yet, many fall for it ... mostly unsuspecting people, or older people who just don't understand it. 

Apr 28, 2016 05:38 AM #18
Rainmaker
908,388
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Andrea, thanks for the heads up. I was just speaking with someone the other day that soon scammers will figure out a way to include a "button" in their email to click on instead of a link. 

Apr 28, 2016 05:50 AM #19
Rainer
133,121
Libby Cousins
Extraordinary Processing - Spokane, WA
Contract Mortgage Processor, licensed in WA

All of the recent scams are super frustrating. Closers that I deal with are now sending secure emails whether or not an attachment is in the email and it is a good idea to secure everything. 

If these thieves spent half as much time doing real work as they do working on these scams, they would likely be really successful in their field.

Apr 28, 2016 04:32 PM #20
Rainmaker
551,833
Eric Kodner
Madeline Island Realty - La Pointe, WI
CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -

The scams just keep coming and it isn't just consumers who are fooled by them.

Apr 28, 2016 11:17 PM #21
Rainmaker
503,032
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Apex, NC
Raleigh - Cary Triangle Real Estate 919-578-3111

This is a great post! We get these emails too. So far I've been able to identify them. It's a little scary though!

Apr 29, 2016 01:52 PM #22
Ambassador
3,510,363
Praful Thakkar
eXp Realty - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Andrea Bedard - its been happening more frequently to me - not sure why.

Thank God, I realized it almost immediately.

Apr 29, 2016 03:03 PM #23
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M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond
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