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Scammers phish for mortgage closing costs

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Buying a home is exciting. You saved for the down payment, scheduled the move, and are dreaming of planting new roots. Closing is right around the corner… unless a scammer gets your settlement fees first.

The Federal Trade Commission and the National Association of Realtors® are warning home buyers about an email and money wiring scam. Hackers have been breaking into some consumers’ and real estate professionals’ email accounts to get information about upcoming real estate transactions. After figuring out the closing dates, the hacker sends an email to the buyer, posing as the real estate professional or title company. The bogus email says there has been a last minute change to the wiring instructions, and tells the buyer to wire closing costs to a different account. But it’s the scammer’s account. If the buyer takes the bait, their bank account could be cleared out in a matter of minutes. Often, that’s money the buyer will never see again.

If you’re buying a home and get an email with money-wiring instructions, STOP. Email is not a secure way to send financial information, and your real estate professional or title company should know that. If it’s a phishing email, report it to the FTC.

Here are some ideas to help you avoid phishing scams:

  • Don’t email financial information. It’s not secure.
  • If you’re giving your financial information on the web, make sure the site is secure. Look for a URL that begins with https (the "s" stands for secure). And, instead of clicking a link in an email to go to an organization’s site, look up the real URL and type in the web address yourself.
  • Be cautious about opening attachments and downloading files from emails, regardless of who sent them. These files can contain malware that can weaken your computer’s security.
  • Keep your operating system, browser, and security software up to date.

Learn more about protecting yourself from phishing and what to do if your email is hacked. If you gave your information to a scammer, visit

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages


Good Job Keep The Good Work, NOW go after DISH NETWORK for the way they RIP-OFF People and Post bad stuff on their Credit Report

Service sucks, channels never work, they are ridiculous price. There service is honestly a waste of time and money

My concerns are regarding the potential mortgage refinance companies that will call you and offer you such a great deal? I have one in particular dad has called many times to get me this great deal my concerns or are they real are they doing this just to leverage a great deal of money for themselves?

If you're interested in a mortgage, either a new mortgage or a refinance, it's important to shop and compare different products. This FTC article about shopping for a mortgage has more information.

Never respond to a caller about anything financial. After hanging up from a received call, find the company's phone number (on-line) and call them to find out if they are making these offers. If so, then you can proceed with caution. Same is true of any other financial phone solicitation calls.

You stopped a bit short on your following an email link. You said that if the URL HTTPS is shown on any site it is secure. Most people already understand that NOTHING IN ANY SITE EVEN GOVERNEMNT is safe from hackers. Only security is to not use the Internet at all. From an ID Theft victim who learned this the hard way. Thanks for giving me a way to talk about this.

I'm a Victim of Predatory lending I Was granted Motion dimissed,I was to hire attorney for damages ,They send me emails that loan is transfered severa times And lenders,say I don't own home Defence,continues 3.5 yrs Get notice of transfer thru Email Never thru.mail

Did this result in you investigating clouds on your title.123

This is an excellent way for people to protect thems eve's against theft.we need a better e mail with secure system that stops theft.e excellent article well writen and clear and consitant.nice work.thanks I'm impressed.

I think we need a better way to spread the news.I suggest 6 o'clock evening news. have a great and safe weekend.

I was set up by underwriters. title company, seller on a land lease which was inserted in the loan. The Ponzi scheme is still going on and the Lessor is raping Seniors both owners and tenants.D0 not have resources for investigation. It would take a battery of attorneys to resolve situation,

What or whom can be contacted when a mortgage company is ripping you off and already has millions of complaints already against them & continues to get away with their unlawful acts?

These posts should have a "print" button so they can be saved for future reference

Please stop me been vitcum through gmail google internet .im useing 18 years old phone to send u this cause im not smart when comes email and software

Im never took any loans or did anything in my name until i got my carr this year someone been using my id since 2010 .reported it never got loans and dont know anything about software using a 17 years old boy to get my messages off gmail but want gmail online as far as ny id to stop being use to credit attornery as of 25 minutes i want gmail and online to block on id and ill contact my attornery on monday as pleasse block all my id as much as you can cause everyone else doing my own identity but me.

Thank. You for the information.

Thank you for the protection education.

Very first time

Went thrpugh Ameriquest Mortgage Co. In 2001. My house was forclosed on an i lost my house which was sold for $169,000,00 an i never received a penny. My whole life wiped out un 2 yrs. Paid lawyer to try to save it but lost that money too. Is there any way i can get some info on how to get someone to help me get satisfation from this scam mortgage company. Please my whole life depends on this.

You can contact your state Attorney General’s office and ask if it has information about settlements with Ameriquest.

Can we use the same "report to the FTC" link?.... when a scammer advertises our listings (with our pictures and comments)as a low price residential rental, poses as the owner by name, and tells the prospective tenant to wire funds and pick up the keys at the property address. Now explain that to your client!

Yes, you can report that to the FTC at

Good warning but I've been reading about this scam for over two years now.

I've been hearing about this for a while. Read the attached and pass onto anyone you think it will help.

My mortgage was recently sold very quickly by BOA to another mortgage company. I didn't know what hit me. The new mortgage company charged me a couple hundred more on my PMI and didn't think I would notice. BOA is very dishonest. Was with them for 5 years. Not happy with their business practice.

BOA probably sold your loan before it closed. Common practise. Not illegal. Did you get a copy of your closing papers? Do you have contact info for your original PMI company or your new one? Contact your current Loan Servicing Department to get contact information for your PMI. If you have difficulty communicating with them, go to your bank. Part of customer retention is helping you in all financial aspects. They might be able to refinance your loan as a mock resolution.

This has been a great fear for me. I have so much personal information a break in my emails would be devastating. POF with account numbers and addresses I always have my buyers black out account number for safety. I just switched to a VPN account. Virtual Privacy Network

Just got a call asking me to press the windows button and the letter r at the same time. when I did the run box came up, the wanted me to enter a code. They claimed to be from Microsoft and someone else was using my computer. Does anyone know what is going on?

Sounds like it could be a Tech Support Scam.

NEVER answer or give ANY information to someone you don't know from personal or business stand point. ALWAYS verify their identification first. This is my rule of thumb! So many scammers out there!

Thank you for alert!

All this talk about government being bad. I trust government over all these other people trying to lie steal and cheat your hard earned money away. Timeshares are notorious. I would everyone not to ever get involved the government should shut them down altogether. I wish the FTC and otehr agencies had more power. There should not be private credit bureas. The FTC should control everyone credit rating. These companies have too much control over I life helping each other ruin our credit over something they know is illegal. It is all about who has more money and leverage to fight.

Never thought about it because I never had good credit or a lot of money or anything just sounds like a lot of work for someone to still from someone just put the effort towards working or get you a sugar moma or daddy

My home was just bought buy a developer. I have another 2 months for the settlement date. My concern is it possible after signing the closing cost are roughly 20, 000 after the realtor said its 7000 and he signed the sheet saying is that cost.. I making 40000 out of the sale

You could talk to a real estate lawyer about the costs. You could ask friends for the names of lawyers they have used, or look on this state-by-state list of lawyer from the American Bar Association, or visit this site from the State Bar Associations.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has information about home sales and closing costs.

I am a real estate agent / realtor. I really thank Colleen Tressler for the great ideas to help you avoid phishing scams and I really admire your content. Will you please tell me what about refinancing?

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