According to the FBI 2020 Internet Crime Report, there were 791,790 cybercrime complaints during the pandemic—an increase of more than 69% from 2019—and reported losses exceeding $4.2 billion. Email and phishing schemes were among the costliest complaints.
Since business emails were routinely compromised and the real estate sector was a target for rental and investment scams, protecting yourself and your clients from being victimized is crucial. Utilize and share these best email practices:
- Before responding to an email, double-check the email address to make sure it is correct. A common trick used by criminals is to change one letter in an email address or swapping the business domain with a free account like gmail.com or hotmail.com.
- Place your cursor over a link before clicking to see where it is sending you. Do not click if it looks suspicious.
- Be wary of attachments with an unfamiliar extension or .exe files that can download something onto your computer.
- Let your clients know that you will never ask them to send sensitive or personal information like their password, bank account, or credit card.
If you or your clients suspect fraud or malicious activity, submit a cybercrime complaint to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov and your local FBI field office.