A glimpse into the cyber scams that await real estate investors around the corner- Part 1

30 Apr

A glimpse into the cyber scams that await real estate investors around the corner- Part 1

The real estate market in the U.S. includes title companies, on one hand and real estate investors on the other, both are exposed to cyber-attacks. Title companies are exposed to constant attacks by hackers with the intention to steal money or obtain customer's financial information. Real estate investors, who are less aware of the risks, are also exposed to attacks and in one moment of carelessness can lose all their money

It should be emphasized that even seasoned real estate investors in the U.S. do not understand the serious danger. They may lose all their money as a result of cyber-attacks without even knowing where their money disappeared

This is not a loss of money from transactions that have not materialized, buying above the market price, wrong pricing and those kinds of scams - losses we already know. When it comes to cyber-attacks, we're dealing with a really well-managed sting by a group of sophisticated hackers with malicious intentions against their targets

Phishing is one of the ways a cyber-attack is perpetrated. Phishing is done by pretending to be a legitimate party interested in receiving the information. Usually the impersonator sends an SMS or e-mail message on behalf of a known website and/or service used to create credibility. The method is to seduce the potential victim and tempt him to pass on confidential and personal information to an external impersonator without suspecting it

For Example

Emails with proposals to buy products/services at attractive prices in which the user is asked to click on a malicious link is phishing. After clicking the link, the user comes to a fake site where he is asked to enter the details the impostor wants to steal

Another phishing scheme is to open an infected file sent in an e-mail (usually the file will have the extension EXCEL, WORD, PDF, POWERPOINT). The file will contain a “Trojan horse” through which the hacker can penetrate the computer/e-mail

Real estate investors, very courteously, sometimes publicly volunteer their email in real estate groups on social networks to wholesalers and real estate brokers to receive deals and photos. This information is valuable to groups of hackers who are looking to receive accurate information about people who are planning to buy properties in the United States and their email addresses

Once a hacker has accurate information about a real estate investor and his e-mail address, the investor becomes a target for a cyber-attack through their e-mail

With the e-mail address, the hacker can perform several types of infiltration: penetration happens when the victim clicks on fictitious links, opens files with infected Trojans, and other known malicious options

The hacker can pretend to be a "real estate agent /wholesaler/management company" and send details about a property with attached PDF images. When the images are opened, the Trojan horse is activated, and from that moment, the hacker breaks into the investor's inbox

The meaning of this break in is clear and critical. From the moment the hacker "enters" the investor's email, he can see all his communications with title companies, including any action that involves the transfer of funds

Once the hacker enters the e-mail, he can block any email that comes to the investor (like from the title company) without the investor seeing it, and he can also send emails on behalf of the investor

In the second part of the article, located on this website as well, I will expand on how the "Man in the Middle" scam is designed to steal all the money transfers to Title companies or anyone else - in the blink of an eye.

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