Be aware of all these Confidence Crime

Services for Real Estate Pros with Inc

Criminals have a reliance on tricking victims to get access to account information, like passwords. This is known as social engineering, and is also called a “confidence crime.” These come in many forms:

Do Not Take the Bait of These Phishermen

  • A phishing email that targets a specific person is known as spear-phishing. A spear-phishing email looks like an email that might come from a legitimate company to a specific person. For example, a thief might send a fake email to a company’s employee who handles money or IT. It looks like the email is from the CEO of the company, and it asks the employee for sensitive information, such as the password for a financial account or to transfer funds somewhere.
  • Telephones are used for phishing, too, also called “vishing,” which is a combination of phishing and voicemail.
  • Fake invoices are also popular among hackers and scammers. In this case, a fake invoice is sent to a company that looks like one from a legitimate vendor. Accounting pays the invoice, but the payment actually goes to a hacker.
  • Another scam is when a bad guy leaves a random USB drive around the office or in a parking lot. His hope is that someone will find it, get nosy, and insert it into their computer. When they do, it releases malware onto the network.
  • Cyber criminals also might try to impersonate a vendor or company employee to get access to business information.
  • If someone calls, if you get an email, if the doorbell rings, or if someone enters your office, always look at it with suspicion.

Be thoughtful about security:

  • Set up all bank accounts with two-factor authentication. All web-based email accounts should have two factor authentication. This way, even if a hacker gets your password, they still can’t access your accounts.
  • Train staff to be careful about what they post on social media, such as the nickname the CEO goes by in the office.
  • Do not click any link inside of an email. These often contain viruses that can install themselves on your network.
  • Any requests for money or other sensitive data should be verified over the phone or in-person. Never just give the information in an email.
  • All money transfers should require not one, but two signatures.
  • Make sure all employees are fully trained to recognize a phishing attempt. Also, make sure to stage phishing simulation attempts to make sure they are following protocol.
  • Help people understand the importance of looking out for things like a new email address for the CEO or Kathy in accounting suddenly signing her name Kathi.
  • Also, teach staff to report any uncharacteristic behaviors with long-time vendors or even fellow coworkers.

I once presented a security awareness program to a company that was almost defrauded. They hired me because of an email accounting had received from the CEO. The CEO sent a nice proper letter to accounting requesting payment be made to a specific known vendor.

A number of things were wrong with the email. First and foremost, like I mentioned, the email was nice and proper. Apparently the CEO isn’t all that nice, is somewhat of a bully, and all his communications are laden with profanity. So the red flags, where the fact that the email was nice. Imagine.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.


Re-Blogged 6 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Gabe Sanders 08/11/2018 11:00 PM
  2. Sheri Sperry - MCNE® 08/18/2018 05:00 AM
  3. Roy Kelley 10/24/2018 01:00 AM
  4. Gita Bantwal 08/31/2018 07:59 AM
  5. Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate 08/19/2018 06:17 PM
  6. Kathy Streib 08/20/2018 02:15 PM
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Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Robert- thank you for all of these very helpful tips. 


Jul 26, 2018 08:07 AM #1
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

It's amazing how many ways criminals try to trick consumers into revealing their data. If only they would use their creativity towards something good we would all be in a better place. I'll  add these to my ever growing list of things to watch out for Robert, Thanks!

Jul 26, 2018 01:05 PM #2
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

Lots to be careful of in the world of interet "not quite real" !

Aug 12, 2018 05:58 AM #3
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Robert Siciliano - A good reason to pick up your book!  I follow all these rules. My husband spent time designing websites as a hobby and has studied this topic.

Aug 12, 2018 06:37 AM #4
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much for sharing this important advice.

I will schedule a reblog for 10/24.

Aug 12, 2018 08:50 AM #5
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

You can't be too careful with identity theft !

Aug 18, 2018 09:15 AM #6
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Robert- I'm not sure how I missed this one but they're all good reminders for us. I won't even say "yes" if a get one of those calls because I'm concerned they will tape it and use it.

Aug 20, 2018 02:11 PM #7
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Our radars need to be operating all the time when it comes to scams.  And, there seems to be a new one born each minute!

Aug 21, 2018 05:20 AM #8
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thank you for sharing these great tips. I will bookmark this post and share with others.

Aug 21, 2018 05:22 AM #9
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

I can see how it would be easy to be duped.  I have seen fake Docusign emails come to my "other" email address that I don't use for business.  It looked very real.

Aug 21, 2018 07:28 PM #10
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Caution online is essential; telephone too. If something looks too good to be true....

Aug 21, 2018 08:50 PM #11
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

90% of the email I get is junk. How much of that would be dangerous junk I have no idea.

Some of the junk is obvious because of spelling or grammar errors. Some is iffy, so if it looks like something I might want/need, I call the people and ask if they sent it.

Aug 21, 2018 09:13 PM #12
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Roobert

Thanks for the continued education and reminders about security and what to watch for. It's an ever-growing list!


Aug 23, 2018 03:21 PM #13
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

I've recently been hit more than normal for a few reasons.  #1 I"m now a Director at my association.  I've received several stating they are from the President, and others from the CEO.  #2 I was recently featured on a Podcast (2 podcasts and 2 TV appearances actually) and I mentioned that I use LionDesk for my CRM.  Just today I received an email from "LionDesk" stating my credit card info needed to be updated.  Visiting LionDesk and it was fine - Now that was creative and all from a Podcast!  I'm going to your link for the 99 tips!

Aug 23, 2018 06:41 PM #14
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Robert Siciliano

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