Real estate agents warning buyers of new scam

Published: May. 16, 2016 at 9:33 AM MST|Updated: May. 16, 2016 at 4:10 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Those looking to buy a home could be at risk of a new scam.

Real estate agents are seeing an increase in buyer's financial information being stolen.

Scammers are hacking buyer's and agent's emails, tracking purchases and waiting for the perfect time to steal information.

"[Scammers are] using phishing, email schemes and other ways to get access to either people that are looking to buy houses, or even professionals in the industry, to get access to email, track and potentially intercept and change bank information to try and steal money from home buyers," said Kevin Kaplan, vice president of marketing and technology with Long Realty. "It's horrible."

Once scammers start tracking emails, they have the potential to send buyers a fake email at the time they're getting ready to buy.

Kaplan said scammers use "spoofing" to where buyers think they're going to a website from an email link, but it actually sends them somewhere else.

"That's the biggest thing, is keeping your private information private and only really communicating over phone or fax or other ways, but through email is a little risky," Kaplan said.

In Arizona, an agent likely wouldn't ask for financial information.

A lender or the escrow company deals with that part.

A buyer's best bet is to keep all of their financial information off the internet and deal with people directly.

If they have to work online, they should look for a lock symbol or 'https' in the URL to ensure that the website is secure.

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