Criminals taking advantage of homebuyers with new scheme

Criminals are pretending to be real estate agents

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Federal Trade Commission is warning homebuyers about a new scheme.

They say criminals are hacking into email accounts and pretending to be real estate agents to try and steal money from homebuyers.

Here’s how it works: You’re about to buy a new house, and everything’s ready to close, when your real estate agent or title company emails you, asking you to wire the closing costs to a bank account, instead of giving them a check in person.

The Better Business Bureau says you might want to double check with your real estate agent before sending any money, or you could be wiring thousands of dollars into a criminal’s bank account.

If you’re about to become a homebuyer, we have some advice to help you avoid becoming a victim:

  • Never change a transaction based off an an email.
  • If someone tells you there has been a change in plans, check it out before you send over any money.
  • Call your agent or title company to make sure the new payment plan is legitimate.

The Better Business Bureau is urging you to be wary of unexpected emails with links or attachments. They say you shouldn’t click on anything if you don’t know what it is.

You can also take into consideration how the company usually gets a hold of you. If it’s by phone, you might have a good reason to be suspicious if they suddenly start sending you emails or text messages.

You can’t always believe what you see. Just because an email looks real, doesn’t mean it is. Criminals can send you fake information from a company’s email address.

If something seems suspicious, check the company’s website or give them a call.

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