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How To Avoid Email Scams in a Real Estate Transaction

Protect yourself from email scams that target you when buying a home.

Delaware Real Estate Broker, Kathy Sperl-Bell of Active Adults Realty shares a real life story on how she was targeted by fraudsters over email, and how you should be wary of email scams, especially during real estate transactions.

Online scammers are turning to email to target victims who are in the midst of real estate transactions. There have been so many stories of people losing their life savings due to a simple email scam that includes fake wiring instructions from spoofed email address. We don't want that to happen to you! Always call and verify!


Should you open every email in your inbox? Not anymore. Hi, this is Kathy Sperl-Bell, at Active Adults Realty, in Delaware. You know, email has become just such a key part of how we communicate, both personally, as well as in our business life and you have to really be careful out there, now. Because there are a lot of scammers, there are a lot of spoofers. There are so many different terminologies. But you have to be careful. Especially when you're dealing with any financial information, the kind of data that we need during a real estate transaction, that's where you have to really be careful.

Let me give you a personal example. My husband, Bill, and I, recently bought a condominium, down in The Keys. We experienced ourselves, all the myriad email communications. One day, Bill was looking at one that, ostensibly, was coming from the mortgage company, a very reputable firm that wewere using down in Florida. But something just didn't sound right, didn't smell right. So he called down to our loan officer to inquire whether or not this was a valid request. He said, "No, that did not come from us."

Even if you look at the email and it's got the signature, it's got the right name, the right company, when it comes to financial data, any requests for Social Security numbers, wiring instructions, anything like that, be very careful. Call, to verify.

In fact, I want to share with you the firm, that we recommend, and use ourselves, here in Delaware. The email that you would receive, from the settlement processor, the settlement coordinator would say things like, "Please see the attached buyer documents to be completed and returned. However, I will be forwarding wiring instructions, separately, via a secure email, momentarily."Then, down at the bottom here, in a big bold red, a little lock and, "We do not accept, or request, changes to wiring instructions via email or fax. Always call to verify."

Email is a critical part of our lives and the way we communicate, but we need to really be careful out there. If you're doing anything, here in Delaware, with Active Adults Realty, and you have a question or concern, email me. Or maybe it's better to pick up the phone and give me a call. I would be glad to help.

Have a question you want to be featured in our Ask The Broker video series? You can safely and securely submit your questions directly by Visiting HERE. Or you can email Kathy at Broker@ActiveAdultsRealty.coms

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