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Buying a house? Here’s how to avoid a hacker scam that could wipe out your savings.

Home buyers and professionals should confirm wire transfer details over the phone instead of via email, Boise Regional Realtors says.
Home buyers and professionals should confirm wire transfer details over the phone instead of via email, Boise Regional Realtors says. Associated Press

Home shoppers in the process of buying a home should watch out for an email scam that has defrauded buyers in the Treasure Valley and elsewhere, Boise Regional Realtors says.

Hackers gain access to email accounts belonging to agents, buyers, title representatives or mortgage lenders. Hackers then monitor emails to gain information about pending home sales. Just before closing, they send an email to the buyer posing as the agent, lender or title representative, asking the customer to wire a down payment or closing costs to a fraudulent account.

Katrina Wehr, Boise Regional Realtors president-elect and managing broker of Keller Williams Realty Boise, said local home buyers have lost money to the scam. She recommended confirming wiring instructions over the phone and never to call numbers supplied in suspicious emails.

“Consumers need to be aware that this is a possibility and talk with their real estate agents about protecting themselves against this scam,” Wehr said in a news release.

In other cases, hackers pose as either buyers or sellers and try to dupe title companies or escrow officers into releasing funds, the release said.

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