I’m sure a lot of Real Estate Agents, Buyers, and Sellers have seen this scam, presented by email spam. It is a simple scam. The scammer sends out emails to people who the know are going to close on a real estate sale. There are many variations of this scam, the most popular introduces either a virus or spyware to your computer. Maybe both.
The email tells you to immediately sign a set of documents. They are set up to Esign All you need to do is click a link. DON’T DO IT!
How to Detect and Avoid the eSign Scam
Check out the Sender
The email is not from one of the available esign companies. That is the first tip. The email address clearly appears as a made up email address, and normally ends with a DOT, something other than COM, NET, or one of the other common business suffixes.
What you want to do is learn How to Detect and Avoid the eSign Scam. If you suspect anything, forward the email to the Real Estate Agent you are working with. Most have extensive experience and training on internet fraud.
If you want to check into the email, RIGHT (not left click, which will active the link) make sure you RIGHT click on the link. A box will open and chose COPY LINK. Then paste the link into a word processor document. Preferably a blank page. Now you can see the link, and where it will take you. Now you can copy the site name, and enter it into your favorite search bar on your browser to see what comes up. Most will show information on a company, usually like a company providing cloud based storage for documents. No Real Estate firm deals with offshore cloud based accounts. The link may also be to a Google account. Still, DON”T trust it. Call your Agent to find out if there is something for you to sign.
This is popular with scammers using that ransom virus and its offshoots. You don’t want to go there.
One Example of an Email Scam
Here is an example. The email is from an unknown address.
This is not an email address for any Esign company. The email contains a link in blue letters that says:
When I copy the link location, I come up with this.
Http:// dfgcxfatrfamhf .com/press/drobox2017newdocindex/db2016/
I cleared the formatting and added a few spaces to render that link harmless, and changed a few letters so it will not link to anything.
Notice where the company name should be, after the Http, is a set of nonsense. That tells you, it is a made up domain, no company exists, and it is a scam.
Where the Scammers Got Your Information
How do they know you are working on closing on a real estate deal? There is a leak in the system. Someone in the trail of emails is using a public, unsecured email account like Gmail Yahoo, Hotmail, or some other free service. I can email back and forth with a bank and title company all week long with nothing happening. As soon as I forward information about a closing to a client using unsecured email, I get a flood of email scams. I have to tell my clients, I will call you when I send documents to esign. Don’t open up any other emails concerning any type of documents. It is as simple as that.
This is not restricted to the Real Estate industry. Scammers will send this scam to any email address they can. So be careful with any email that asks you to click a link. Look at the senders address, and the actual link if you feel qualified.