Beware of Wire Fraud!
We want to make sure your home purchase doesn’t get derailed by a dangerous threat that could keep you from getting the keys. Criminals have stolen money meant for the purchase of homes through malicious wire fraud schemes targeting consumers across the country.
Once hackers gain access to an email account, they will monitor messages to find someone in the process of buying or selling a home. Hacks can come from various parties involved in a transaction, including real estate agents, title companies, lenders, attorneys or consumers. Criminals then use the stolen information to email fraudulent wire transfer instructions disguised to appear as if they came from a professional you’re working with to purchase a home. If you receive an email with wiring instructions, don’t respond. Email is not a secure way to send financial information. If you take the bait, your money could be gone in minutes.
If you fall victim, it could cost your savings or retirement!
Here are 5 tips to protect you against wire fraud:
Call, don’t email: Confirm all wiring instructions by phone before transferring funds. Use the phone number from the title company’s website or a business card.
Be suspicious: It’s not common for title companies to change wiring instructions and payment info.
Confirm it all: Ask your bank to confirm not just the account number but also the name on the account before sending a wire.
Verify immediately: You should call the title company or real estate agent to validate that the funds were received. The sooner it is detected that money has been sent to a wrong account, the better chance you have of recovering the money.
Forward, don’t reply: When responding to an email, hit forward instead of reply and then start typing in the person’s email address. Criminals use email address that are very similar to the real one for a company. By typing in email addresses you will make it easier to discover if a fraudster is after you.
Utilize encrypted email: We always send our wiring instructions via encrypted email to communicate securely when it comes to your personal information and all parties’ bank accounts.