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.
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.