In a year where uncertainty is the only certainty, there’s one bellwether industry leading the pack to prosperity. We’re talking about the housing market, of course. Several factors — a lack of inventory, low, low interest rates, and people flocking to the suburbs — are driving a persistently robust housing market.

Real estate experts in the area say between cash offers and bidding wars, things are happening fast! But Better Business Bureau warns house hunters to watch out for these tricks targeting homebuyers:

First, be aware of wire fraud. Hackers insert themselves into email accounts and monitor communications during the home-buying purchase. At the last minute, right when it’s time to send over the closing costs and down payments, they send an email pretending to be the lender, agent or title company with an important message that wiring instructions have changed. The new account, ready to receive your funds, is controlled by the scammer, eager to steal your money. Victims of this con end up losing tens of thousands of dollars and their dream home.

The next thing homebuyers need to be aware of is the amount of communications you will receive after the point of purchase. Once you close on your house, the deed of trust (and all the information on it) becomes public record. You will likely start to get post-close solicitations that can be confusing or downright deceiving. These come in the form of mail and phone calls and mention home warranties, home insurance and even services such as getting you copies of your deed of trust.

Buying a home is a big purchase that not many people do often. It can be complicated and confusing. Knowledge is key — following is what you need to know.

Know who you’re dealing with

Buying a home can be stressful but having a trustworthy professional by your side can make the process easier. Do your research before signing up for their service to make sure they are reputable and have your best interest in mind.

Confirm communications

Know that you’ll be bombarded with requests for your information that look legitimate but do your research to verify its authenticity. If something pops up like a change in wiring instructions, get verbal confirmation by calling both your agent, the lender and/or the title company.

Lock up your info

There’s a lot of paperwork that gets passed back and forth when buying a home. You’re giving your lender access to your financial accounts, credit reports, tax statements and more. Make sure you’re on a secure network and beware of phishing emails that may be tricking you into giving out your information.

Remember, BBB keeps records on millions of businesses

You’ll need to hire everyone from a realtor and lender to an inspector, painter, locksmith, HVAC company and others. Whether it’s a foundation that needs a fix or a roof that needs replacing, head to bbb.org to search for the professionals you can trust, vetted by the BBB. On our website you can find out what other customers say about companies and find more homebuying tips.

Rebecca Barr is Boise Marketplace Manager of the Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific. For more information, visit bbb.org or call (800) 218-1001.

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