The real estate industry is facing a steady increase in fraudulent email activity, posing a significant threat to real estate transactions. As criminals become more familiar with the inner workings of real estate deals and the payments associated with them, they are able to manipulate participants into falling victim to fraud.

To protect themselves and their clients, agents and lenders must take all possible measures to identify and verify the emails they receive. By adopting a strong cybersecurity strategy, this includes establishing procedures to recognize suspicious emails such as requests for wiring instructions and any unexpected emails received on accounts they have used before. It is also important to check links before clicking, never reply to suspicious emails, and use two-factor authentication whenever possible.

Fraudsters have become more adept at creating more convincing emails, using techniques such as spoofing, a form of social engineering which disguises the source of an email to mirror the sender. To protect against these types of scams, agents and lenders should use email domain authentication services to ensure that emails are coming from legitimate sources.

Though the real estate industry has been hit especially hard by email fraud, there are measures that agents and lenders can take to protect their clients and themselves. By doing their due diligence, agents and lenders can help detect and prevent email fraud from occurring, in turn reducing the risk of fraud in real estate transactions.

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