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The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance is warning consumers and professionals in the mortgage industry to be on the lookout for hackers that are trying to steal mortgage funds during real estate transactions, HousingWire staffer Ben Lane reports.

“The purpose of today’s bulletin is to remind those New Jersey firms involved in wire transfers to take every step necessary to protect small business owners, consumers and themselves against this constantly evolving fraudulent threat,” [New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance Acting Commissioner Marlene Caride said]. “These industries handle millions of dollars in wire transfers every day in connection with mortgage loans and taking precautions to safeguard these transactions should be a high priority.”

These types of scams typically include different types of “business email compromise techniques,” in which the normal wiring instructions are changed in order to divert the mortgage funds from the intended recipient to the hackers, Lane writes.

With sophisticated hacking mechanisms, a perpetrator will target weakly guarded transactions and, for instance, send the buyer an email from an address nearly identical to the closing agent’s, with a plausible subject line, advising of a “wiring change.” When the buyer complies, the funds are wired to a scammer who is often overseas and usually impossible to track down.

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