Common Cyber Attacks (And How to Avoid Them)

While technology often makes our lives convenient and more efficient, it can also open the door to various cyber attacks if we are not careful. Here are a few of the most common tactics cybercriminals use and how you can best protect your sensitive information!

Phishing: Reeling in the Unwary

Phishing is a type of cyberattack that uses email, text messages, phone calls, or social media to entice a victim to share sensitive information – such as passwords, account numbers or one-time codes. These attacks are especially targeted at those who are about to make a big purchase, such as buying a home. These messages can look very convincing, like an email from your Loan Consultant or a text message from your bank urging the recipient to take immediate action.

To mitigate the risk of a phishing attack, it is crucial to verify the authenticity of all emails, especially if it involves sharing sensitive information. Always cross-reference contact details and use official communication channels when possible.

Spoofing: The Illusion of Trust

Like phishing, spoofing is a technique where a cybercriminal disguises themselves as a trusted source to deceive their target. Spoofing can result in fraudulent websites that imitate trusted real estate agencies or fake login pages.

Common Types of Spoofing Attacks

  • Email Spoofing – When an attacker poses as a trusted contact by copying email headers and forging sender addresses.
  • Domain Spoofing – When an attacker impersonates a known business or person with a fake website or email to trick their targets. These domains will appear to be legitimate, but with a closer look, you may notice slight misspellings.

How to Shield Yourself from Cyber Attacks

When purchasing a home, you will want to be especially wary of cybercriminals attempting wire fraud during the homebuying process. Unfortunately, real estate wire fraud is a common, high-level scam where victims unknowingly send wire transfers to the accounts of criminals pretending to be professionals involved in their homebuying process.

As cybercriminals grow more sophisticated, so do we! By adopting these proactive measures, you will be able to protect yourself and your well-earned funds.

  1. Call, Don’t Email – Before transferring any of your funds, always confirm your wiring instructions by phone or in person with a trusted professional. It is very uncommon for title companies to change wiring instructions and payment information by email.
  2. Stay Suspicious – If you receive any suspicious communication during your home’s financing, never hesitate to call a trusted member of your Loan Team over the phone to confirm. It is always better to be safe than sorry!
  3. Verify Immediately – Before wiring your funds, ask your bank to confirm the name on the account. Then call your title company to verify that all the funds were received. The sooner it is detected that money has been sent to the wrong account, the better chance you have of recovering it.

Remember, you will never be asked to confirm wiring information via email.