RealDeal, a real estate flatware company, is the possible victim of a cyberattack, the Dallas Morning Post reports. The outlet cited a court filing from the United States Secret Service, which confirmed that the firm was the victim of a hack that saw it lose about $10.5 million.
According to the agency, the hackers were possibly Nigerians, who carried out their operations using American money mules. Money mules are individuals who accept fraudulent funds into their accounts and transfer to the hackers in exchange for a cut.
An Old-Fashioned Hack Job
Founded in 1998, RealPage is a Richardson, Texas-based real estate firm that provides software and data analytics to over 12,000 clients. According to the Secret Service, RealPage contacted its Dallas office in May 2018 about a computer intrusion that saw hackers gain an employee’s login credentials and access the company’s online-based financial accounts.
While the agency did admit that it hasn’t gotten the precise location of the hackers, it was able to find one American money mule that transferred funds to a bank account based in Nigeria. In one instance, a woman living in Tyler, TX allegedly received $103,000 from a wire transfer and was told to send $100,000 to a Nigerian account, while pocketing the leftover $3,000.
“The investigation to date has revealed a large network of money mules who have been communicating by telephone and internet with individuals whom they thought were legitimate businesses or entrepreneurs sending funds that were proceeds of business or real estate transactions,” the agency explained in court documents.
The agency added that there were several such mules, most of whom were from Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, New York, and other states. However, criminal charges haven’t been pressed against anyone yet.
Not Much of an Effect on the Company
The news comes just two days after the company was reported to be in the process of acquiring Modern Message, a multi-family real estate engagement solution. The acquisition will involve heavy use of Community Rewards, the flagship product from Modern Message, which builds interactions through a modern UI for property residents.
Jon Pastor, RealPage’s Senior Vice President of Consumer Relations, explained that adding products from Modern Message will help RealPage to provide their clients with a full resident portal.
“Modern Message provides a unique boost to our already powerful resident engagement platform. The two solutions joined together to enable our clients to give residents a rich rewards experience, boost ancillary revenue, resident loyalty and reputation scores, and see greater adoption of their RealPage solutions,” he added.
The company has also started the year off on a hot streak, with its stock gaining about 8 percent over the past month.
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