Avoid popular scams when purchasing or selling real estate.
The Scam: Wire Transfer Fraud with a Twist
Did you know that HACKERS try to divert money during real estate closing proceedings?
Their wire transfer scam attempts to divert money from title companies, attorneys, banks, and Realtors by diverting the money wire transfers during the real estate closing proceedings with email wire instruction changes. By hacking into email accounts and implementing this wire transfer scam they are sometimes able to seal huge amounts of money.
The real estate industry has been painfully aware of this scam and actively taking measure to stop thieves in their tracks. But the new “twist” on this scam is that the hackers are now calling before sending the email with the new wire transfer instructions.
What Buyers and Sellers Can Do to Thwart this Scam
1. Be Aware of Emails During Your Closing
Be Cautious of Emails Instructing Changes to the Wire Transfer of Monies
Never accept instructions to change your wire transfer from an email that you were not expecting. The hackers are usually sending “changes” to the wire transfer that you have previously received.
2. Look Closely at Sender Information
Really look at the name and email of the company sending the emails
If you receive an email from your lawyer, title company, bank, or other company involved in your closing – look closely at the company name, the “from” email address, the location, and the signature information at the bottom of the email. If it looks different or odd let it send up the red flag for you to look into this closer.
3. Verify Wire Transfer Instructions
Verify wire transfer instructions from both emails and phone calls
Before wiring funds, verify the wiring instructions or the changes by calling all the involved companies in your real estate buy/sell transaction. Use the phone numbers that you already have. Never accept instructions from a call from someone you don’t know.