If you are in the middle of a real estate transaction, you have a target on your back for cyber-criminals because a large chunk of money gets transferred at the end of the transaction. They know you’ll have a lot of details to keep track of that you don’t normally do so it’s a perfect opportunity for them to strike. The scams are getting REALLY hard to spot. Here are some tips to protect yourself.

Wire Instructions. Don’t rely on emailed information. Criminals are able to send out fake emails that look REALLY trustworthy. And don’t call the phone number in the email to verify. Only accept wire instructions in person from the title company or bank you are dealing with. Ignore any emails coming in at the last second telling you there has been a change to your wiring instructions. While it may be a little more inconvenient, you may want to consider walking a physical cashier’s check to the title company instead of wiring just to be safe.

Passwords. Some people post passwords on their computer screens or on the walls near their computers. Take those down before you put your home on the market.

Text or call. Emails are easy to hack. Texting is harder to hack. Or just make a phone call so you recognize the person’s voice if you have critical or sensitive information to convey.

Avoid public Wi-Fi. This is especially true when you are logging into your bank to move money around. This is an easy path for hackers to gain access to your accounts. An alternative is to use a private VPN.

Double-check all emails before clicking any links or opening any attachments. Even when the sender appears to be someone you know, it’s good practice to hover your mouse over their name to see the actual email address of the sender.

If you have questions about real estate, call me at (925) 240-MOVE (6683). Voted “Best of Brentwood” multiple times. To search the MLS for free, go to: www.SharpHomesOnline.com. Sharp Realty. #01245186

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