How Raleigh Area Buyers and Sellers Can Lose Thousands of Dollars to Email Scams

laptop and smart phoneEmail scams are as old as, well, email, but as the years go by, these scams have become more and more sophisticated. Recently, several home buyers have fallen victim to specially targeted email scams that attempt to rob them of their closing costs — sometimes up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

These types of scams are devastating both financially and emotionally, especially when your home is involved. But to help protect you from email scams targeting the real estate industry, we have outlined a few tips about what these scams are and how to avoid them.

What Email Scams Are Common?

Though the method through which hackers collect personal or financial information is always changing, there are a few basic types of scams that buyers and sellers should be aware of.


fishingThis type of scam attempts to “fish” for sensitive personal or financial information (such as passwords or credit card numbers). Many emails used in recent phishing schemes look legitimate; they may use the name of a trusted company or individual as the sender name, but the email address is slightly different than the company’s or individual’s verified address.

These types of email messages may also ask you to verify information or click on a link, which could install harmful software on your computer.

Wire Transfer Fraud

A specific type of phishing email that has been targeting home buyers recently is one that asks buyers to wire their closing costs to another account. The email typically crafts some urgent scenario, such as a last-minute change in wiring instructions, and urges the recipient to act quickly by wiring the money to the new account. This phishing email has led to home buyers losing thousands of dollars — in some cases, the entire purchase price of the house — to scammers. Unfortunately, the money can’t be returned once it’s gone.

Wire transfer fraud scams are especially dangerous because the emails appear to be sent directly from the real estate agent, the electronic signature company, or the title company. There may not be any misspellings or grammatical errors in the email message (which were surefire signs of a scam in the past), the message itself may be friendly and conversational, and any information related to the real estate transaction may be detailed and accurate.

How You Can Avoid Falling Victim to Email Scams

Now that you know what types of scams have plagued the real estate industry, here are a few tips you can follow to prevent yourself from falling victim to a devastating email scam.

person dialing a phone numberVerify that you received an email from the right person. Ensure that any emails you receive are legitimate by contacting the sender directly. Make sure you look up their phone number instead of clicking on the number provided in the email signature, which may be the scammer’s phone number.

Verify that the email address is legitimate. When you receive emails that appear to be from your real estate agent, title company, or attorney, check to make sure the sender’s email address does not contain misspellings, extra characters, or anything unusual.

Never share sensitive information via email. Your real estate agent will never ask you to send sensitive personal or financial information in an email.

Don’t touch an email that looks suspicious. Never click on any links or download any attachments from an unverified email, even if it looks legitimate. These links or attachments could be malware that will harm your computer.

Always use strong passwords. Use passwords that contain letters, numbers, and special characters, and change them periodically.

Update your antivirus software. Protect your computer from malware by ensuring your antivirus is up to date.

Report suspicious emails. If you receive an email that seems suspicious or is in fact a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission immediately.

Contact Us to Learn More

We’re aware of scams like these, so it’s our goal to keep you informed whether you’re buying or selling a home. Give us a call and we’ll provide you with any additional resources you need!

To search all homes for sale in the Raleigh area and surrounding communities, visit this link to our website

Marc Iafrate, MBA
Broker-in-Charge, Realtor
Capital City Real Estate Group
(919) 390-7810 Office
8319 Six Forks Road, Suite 201
Raleigh, NC 27615

About Capital City Real Estate Group, Inc.

Moving to North Carolina years ago was the best decision my family and I could have made. We were looking for a change from the cold Michigan winters and the volatile economic climate. The Triangle was the perfect choice with its mild winters, quality of life and diverse economic base.

I have always held as my personal values and guiding principles: Professionalism, Integrity, Dependability and understand the meaning of perseverance!

I began my real estate career in 1996 as a commercial investor. This led to a Director of Property Management position for multi-family and commercial property and now, residential real estate as the Broker/Owner of the Capital City Real Estate Group, Inc. – eXp Realty here in Raleigh.

I put myself through the evening MBA program at the University of Michigan while working full time and raising a family.

Prior to real estate, I earned a Master of Science in Engineering from U of M and currently hold 2 U.S. Design Patents and had a successful corporate career in the automotive industry. As a result of that experience, I’ve successfully been able to apply my problem solving ability to business.

Community Involvement

Wake Forest Downtown, Inc. Board of Directors
Wakefield Rotary Club of Wake Forest, NC Board of Directors
Rotary Club President-Elect
Rotary Club Secretary position
Paul Harris Fellow

In addition to the Rotary Club, I support causes which strengthen our local community such as the YMCA – We Build People Program and Habitat for Humanity
My wife’s favorite charity benefiting children is The Angel Tree
We participate in our church food and clothing drives to benefit our local community
We also support the American Cancer Society, the Alzheimer’s Association and the Humane Society

Professional Associations

North Carolina Real Estate Broker License
South Carolina Real Estate Broker License
National Association of Realtors (NAR)
North Carolina Association of Realtors
Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors
Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors

We are committed to delivering outstanding customer service!

Marc Iafrate, MBA
Capital City Real Estate Group, Inc.
powered by eXp Realty
Raleigh, NC

First time Home Buyers, Raleigh home owners, Raleigh home sellers, Raleigh homes for sale, Raleigh Realtors, Raleigh Realty, ,