Cyber-fraud is a constant, growing problem especially prevalent in the Real Estate industry. This post examines “Spoofed” emails and how to recognize them. A video tutorial of this post can be seen here.
Scammers create fake emails that look like they came from a bank, title company, or Realtor. Clicking links in the email may download viruses, take you to malicious sights, or convince you to enter passwords or send money.
Always be suspicious of any email that asks you to click on a link, enter a password, provide personal information, or send money.
Never send money until you call the contact at a phone number NOT provided in that email.
One recent scam involved a common Email Encryption program used by many banks and title companies called ZixCorp. ZixCorp is a legitimate service that Homestead and other companies use for secure email . Fake or “spoofed” ZixCorp emails look exactly like a bank or title company has sent you a secure or encrypted email. How can you tell the fake from the real thing?
Here’s how to recognize a fake or spoofed email:
1. The Subject line is empty, vague, or unrelated to you. A statement that you have received a “secure message” is too vague.
2. The email of the sender is not quite right. For example, if you receive an email from Microsoft, you should not open it if the address is @mxll2.microsoft.com. The random letters at the beginning are sure sign of fraud. The ZixCorp message was harder to detect. The scammer added ‘S’s in the name: @zixcorpmesssagescenters.com.
3. The Link has a fake hyperlink. Always hover your cursor over a link before clicking — it will show you where you will be taken.
You can safely open emails from ZixCorp – the real emails are safe and secure. The trick is recognizing the fakes. If you have any suspicions or are unsure, always call the company that sent you the email. Find their number in your contacts or their website, not on the suspicious email. And, never wire any money without first calling to confirm all information. Scammers used spoofed emails to try to convince people to wire money. Once the money is sent, it is usually gone to a foreign country and impossible to return.
Be cautious, vigilant, and safe.