The lightning development of AI tools such as ChatGPT is already being felt in many industries. As reported by the Guardian, this includes the field of cybercrime, and particularly the common type known as “phishing.” Phishing is the transmission of a virus or other harmful software, often via email and generally disguised as a legitimate email link or attachment. However, up till now most phishing attempts were relatively poorly constructed and easy to spot, full of grammatical inconsistencies, odd phrasing, and spelling errors. However, the ability to automatically generate a coherent email using AI is making these attempts significantly more difficult to spot, and the risk to real estate transactions if one or more parties fall victim to a scammer can be dire.
To avoid falling for a phishing attempt, it is important to use great caution when acting on a received email, whether clicking on attachments or links, or providing sensitive personal information. Beforehand, check the sender email address to make sure that it appears correct. If you are not sure what you have received, its best to check with the sender at a known telephone number (not the number in the suspect email) before opening or proceeding. If you are wiring funds as part of a real estate transaction, it is imperative to verbally verify any wire instructions that you receive via email via telephone in this manner.
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