Recently attended a meeting with an FBI agent who specifically work with fraud in the real estate industry. He said there is an "epidemic" and the real estate industry is being targeted by criminals! WOW, WHOA, HOW WHAT TO DO?
Well first the why! The money transactions especially in the larger cities are of great dollar value so the pay can be tremendous. He mentioned in California the MONTHY real estate fraud numbers are higher than the NATIONAL yearly take for bank robberies! Can you imagine!
So what are they doing? Well the biggest thing is wire fraud. Imagine you are a buyer looking to wire your money to escrow or a seller wanting your proceed wired after the close of escrow. You get an email FROM YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENTS EMAIL OR FROM THE ESCROW COMPANIES EMAIL giving you wire instructions and you were not expecting that. You think its normally so you give wire and instructions AND authorize the transfer, but your real estate agent or escrow officer email was compromised and they don't realize it? GETTING THE PICTURE?
Another that happen to a friend of mine last year (in another industry) is what they call RANSOM. Imagine if all of sudden a hacker got a hold of your computer and all its information and would ONLY release it back to you for a fee? How can you be assured if you pay it will be released? What if you pay and they hack that payment information somehow? What if they hacked you again? GETTING THAT PICTURE? One very interesting thing is he really said to back up your computer BUT specifically said NOT TO DO THAT WITH ANY EXTERNAL DRIVE, USB OR WHATEVER YOU PLUG INTO YOUR COMPUTER BECAUSE IT CAN BE HACKED AS WELL. He suggested using one of the cloud services. Google there are a few.