Wire Fraud in Real Estate Transactions and How to protect yourself
WIRE FRAUD IS REAL
If you are asked to send a wire, please FIRST call your Escrow Officer, at a phone number not included in the request
Real estate buyers and sellers are targets for wire fraud and many have lost hundreds of thousand of dollars because they failed to take two simple steps:
- Obtain the phone number of your real estate broker and your escrow agent at your first meeting
2. Call the known phone number to speak directly with your broker or escrow officer to confirm wire instruction PRIOR to wiring funds.
CALL BEFORE YOU WIRE
Beware of the following scam:
- An email account is hacked (this could be broker’s, escrow or even your account).
- Hacker monitors the account, waiting for the time when consumer must wire funds.
- Broker, escrow or consumer have no knowledge they are being monitored.
- Hacker, impersonating the broker or escrow, instructs consumer to wire funds immediately. The wire instructions are for an account controlled by the hacker.
- These instructions often create a sense of urgency and often explain that the broker or escrow officer cannot be reached by phone so any follow-up must be done by email. (This is NEVER the case)
- Consumer wires the funds which are stolen by hacker with no recourse for the consumer.