When you're buying a home, you often have a full to-do list. You have to arrange financing for your new home and get your old property prepared to sell or move out of. It's likely that you have multiple things demanding your attention; this, unfortunately, can make you susceptible to phishing scams.
A phishing scam is a scam that uses a text message, phone call, or email to trick people into revealing their sensitive information. The scammer makes the scam message appear as if it's from a company that you know, like your bank, credit card company, a retailer, or even a government entity.
Once you click the link or contact the scammer with your info, they're able to use it to access your financial accounts or potentially open financial products in your name. The scammers can then run up debt in your name or steal your money.
Phishing scams can even be real estate related to trick would-be homeowners into revealing their info in hopes of navigating the home buying process. Our real estate agents recommend following these tips to protect yourself from phishing scams.
- Never Reply to a Suspicious Text or Email
If you receive a text or email that claims there's a problem, don't reply to the message. The scammer wants you to worry and immediately reply. Instead, look up the phone number for the company that the message claims to be from (using a reputable source, like the company's official webpage). Then, call the company directly to see if there's an issue with your account. This guideline also applies to phone calls you receive requesting information to correct a "problem." Hang up, and call the company back using the number that you locate on their official website. Don't depend on your caller ID to vet a company; it's possible for scammers to spoof information so that the name and number appear to be authentic. When preparing to buy one of the Sarasota homes for sale, these guidelines also apply. You don't want to provide information that can compromise your identity or result in the theft of your savings when you're trying to buy a home.
- Avoid Clicking on Links or Attachments
Never click on links or attachments that are in a potential phishing message. Links and attachments can download tracking software to your device that will steal your information.
- Keep Your Software and Operating Systems Updated
While exploring Bradenton homes for sale, it's important to keep your devices updated. Check that your mobile devices and computers are scheduled to automatically update your software. Operating software frequently receives patches to fix potential security bugs. You should also confirm that your computer has updated antivirus software.
- Know the Warning Signs That Something is Off
There are often a few warning signs that indicate something is off with a message. Typically, there are spelling and grammar errors in the message. While the message may initially appear to be from a reputable company, there are usually things that reveal it's a scam. The website may slightly vary from the company's official webpage, or the email address the message is sent from isn't the company's authentic address. The business's name may also be misspelled. Reputable companies don't usually ask for sensitive information via text message, email, or phone.
Following these tips can help you avoid a phishing scam. One of the best ways to protect yourself from real estate phishing scams is to have an experienced agent in your corner, helping you out through the process. Contact us today!