SCAM ALERT: Hackers target real estate agencies, home buyers

In a competitive housing market, buyers are pressured to move quickly when they find their dream home, but officials are warning buyers not to act so fast.

Attorney General Josh Stein's Office says a scam is targeting real estate buyers and sellers, with one goal in mind: to rob potential home owners of their money.

Officials say scammers are hacking into realtor agency e-mails to get information about a possible transaction.

Scammers will then create a clone email address, telling buyers there has been a sudden change and they will need to wire the closing cost to a different account.

Before handing over your money to crooks, remember:

-Clean out your e-mail regularly. Store all important information in a hard drive.
-Never send sensitive information by email.
-Use a secure connection when entering financial information. A good way to know is if the URL begins with "https."
-Verify transactions with a seller in person or over the phone.

Consumers in our state say they have lost tens of thousands of dollars in this type of fraud. If you are one of them, report it Attorney General Josh Stein’s Consumer Protection Division at 877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint online.