Consumer Alert: Real estate closing scam

Consumer experts are warning people about a real estate scam that could cost a homeowner thousands of dollars.

Scammers are hacking into into a real estate company's computers to learn about upcoming home closings, and then trying to steal money from buyers.

Scammers are hacking into into a real estate company's computers to learn about upcoming home closings, and then trying to steal money from buyers. (4/22/16)

EDISON - Consumer experts are warning people about a real estate scam that could cost a homeowner thousands of dollars.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, a new scam that is making the rounds involves hackers breaking into a real estate company’s computers to learn about upcoming home closings. The scammers then email the buyers and tell them that there was a change in plans and the buyers need to wire money to the scammer’s bank account.

If the scam is successful, a home buyer could be out a lot of money.

“Generally buyers do not wire money to real estate companies,” says mortgage broker Mark Yecies.

Yecies says that unless a buyer is purchasing a home long-distance, they usually take care of the closing costs by paying the money in person via a bank check or money order.

He also says that if a buyer must wire funds, they should never do so just because an email told them to.

“You should never wire money to someone you don’t know who they are,” Yecies says. “You should always make a phone call first.”

Experts also say that a buyer should look up the title company or real estate agent on their own to get the correct phone number, as opposed to calling a phone number that could be provided by the scammers.

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