AVOID CYBERCRIME!

Let's face it - our lives have moved online. The pandemic accelerated this shift, as many of our activities happened almost exclusively on smartphones, tablets, and computers. Unfortunately, this gave scammers and hackers way more opportunities to do their nefarious work—and email is their preferred channel. Here is a list of seven common forms of email crime—followed by advice on how to not be their next victim!

  • Business email compromise (BEC). Scammers use email to steer wire transfer payments to an unauthorized account (theirs!). Anyone financing a home should watch for this scam.

  • Email account compromise (EAC). Here, scammers impersonate someone legitimate and email you requests for payments. They may pose as your lender, asking for payment for a loan modification they say you need. They could claim they’re attorneys who help homeowners struggling with payments—for a fee. Others say they’re landlords with a great deal on a rental. If you send them a deposit, they’ll let you visit the property (which they don’t even own!).

  • Phishing. These forged emails look like they came from a familiar source. Phishing (aka vishing, smishing, pharming) emails can take you to a phony website where they get you to enter passwords, credit card, and bank account numbers.

  • Malware and ransomware. Scammers use links in emails to download damaging software—malware—onto your computer. This becomes “ransomware” when the malware locks you out of your computer and its data. The scammer then demands payment, usually in virtual currency such as bitcoin, to restore your access.

  • Scareware. Scammers email you false threats to get you to send them money.

  • Denial of service. Hackers block authorized users from accessing a system or network.

  • Data breach. Scammers use email to break into data at a secure location and transfer it to an unauthorized environment.

To stop these crimes:

  • Never click on a link in an email unless you know the sender is emailing you one.

  • Check email addresses. A familiar address that’s off just one character did not come from where you thought.

  • Verify wiring instructions. Phone the company emailing the wiring instructions and speak to a person involved with your transaction. Call the phone number on the company’s website, not the one in the email.

  • Check URLs. Hover the cursor over a site address in an email to see if it’s associated with the represented business. Better yet, call the business—again, using the website phone number—and find out if they sent you an email with a link.

  • Look for misspellings and bad grammar. Read suspicious emails carefully. Ones from legitimate companies should be error-free.

  • Never give out personal or financial information without confirming the identity of the person requesting it. This includes your Social Security number, bank account, and credit card numbers. Ask the person for credentials and look up the company they claim to represent.

  • Keep informed and stay vigilant. Stay aware of cybercrime developments. Take a minute to check if a questionable email is legit.

  • Business email compromise (BEC). Scammers use email to steer wire transfer payments to an unauthorized account (theirs!). Anyone financing, buying, or selling a home should watch for this scam.

  • Email account compromise (EAC). Scammers impersonate someone legitimate & email you a request for payment.

  • Phishing. These forged emails look like they came from a familiar source. Phishing (aka vishing, smishing, pharming) emails can take you to a phony website where they get you to enter your passwords, credit card information, and bank account numbers.

  • Malware and ransomware. Scammers use links in emails to download damaging software—malware—onto your computer. This becomes “ransomware” when the malware locks you out of your computer and its data. The scammer then demands payment to restore your access.

  • Scareware. Scammers email you false threats to get you to send them money.

  • Denial of service. Hackers block authorized users from accessing a system or network.

  • Data breach. Scammers use email to break into data at a secure location and transfer it to an unauthorized environment.

To avoid these crimes:

  • Never click on a link in an email unless you know the sender is emailing you one.

  • Check email addresses. A familiar address that’s off just one character did not come from where you thought.

  • Verify wiring instructions. Phone the company emailing the wiring instructions and speak to a person involved with your transaction. Call the phone number on the company’s website, not the one in the email.

  • Check URLs. Hover the cursor over a site address in an email to see if it’s associated with the represented business. Better yet, call the business—again, using the website phone number—and find out if they sent you an email with a link.

  • Look for misspellings and bad grammar. Read suspicious emails carefully. Ones from legitimate companies should be error-free.

  • Never give out personal or financial information without confirming the identity of the person requesting it. This includes your Social Security number, bank account, and credit card numbers. Ask the person for credentials and look up the company they claim to represent.

  • Keep informed and stay vigilant. Stay aware of cybercrime developments. Take a minute to check if a questionable email is legitimate.

In my office, we participate in ongoing training to avoid cyber crimes - to keep our information, and our client's information safe. The list above is only a partial list of some of the most common "scams", but there are so many out there! When our IT security company told us about the drastic increase in cybercrimes in 2021 alone (just in the past few months!), I thought it was worth reviewing with you as well. I hope you are staying cool in this incredible heat, and staying healthy and safe - including your "online" health!


Laura Harbison, ABR, AHWD, BPOR, BS, CDPE, CRS, DRB, GRI, PSA, RSPS, SRES
Broker/Owner   REALTY EXECUTIVES SOUTHERN NEVADA PROPERTIES
License Numbers    B.0026537LLC    PM.0164922.BKR
Laura Harbison
Laura Harbison
Broker
770 Coronado Center Drive Suite 100 Henderson NV 89052