Protect Yourself From Wire Fraud

Graphic of 2-factor authentication using computer and smartphone

Enabling two-factor authentication is one of the easiest ways to protect your hard-earned money

In the title insurance industry, we unfortunately hear about people getting taken advantage of by cybercriminals far too often. Cybercriminals have many tricks they can enact to attempt to steal the money you transfer for closing on your new home. In many cases, they can pose as your realtor, title company, or even hack into your email at the right moment to steal your hard-earned money. Cyber crime can happen to anyone at any time if all the proper precautions aren’t being taken.

The fraud often isn’t discovered until the title company or closing agent contacts the buyer about not receiving the money necessary for closing on the property. The best way to avoid this happening to you is to be suspicious, take the necessary precautions, and only do business with people you can trust.

As a prospective home buyer, the easiest thing to do is to set up 2-Step Verification on your email that you will be communicating with your realtor and title company with. Doing this in a Google email account takes no time at all, but adds exponentially more security to your communications. The Google two-factor authentication will allow you to sign in to your email account with two things, something you know, such as your password, and something you have, such as your phone.

You’ll log into your email account like normal with your password, but you will also enter a randomized code that is sent to your phone when logging in. This makes it incredibly difficult to get into your email account without both parts of the equation, your phone, and your password. To activate this setting, you’ll navigate to the security sections in the settings of your Google account. Google will walk you through how to set up 2-Step Verification when selecting that option under “Signing in to Google.” It may seem like a hassle at times, but adding this extra layer of security is crucial in a world with cyber crimes abundant.

Other helpful habits to adopt when communicating with your realtor and title company is to be suspicious. If you are suddenly being contacted by a different email account posing as your realtor or title company urging you to transfer money now or you’ll lose your property, it’s probably in your best interest to give your realtor a call to verify if this communication is legitimate before taking any action. It’s also important to ensure that the email addresses are correctly spelled — often criminals will use a similar email to your realtor while being a letter or two off, hoping you won’t notice. Cybercriminals thrive off of urgency and people not stopping to verify important details before they act.

Cyber fraud is a serious and scary subject, which is why it’s important to only do business with people and businesses you trust. At Continental Title Company, we use CerifID to protect you from wire fraud while securely transferring your money. Wire fraud scams have been reported more as technology, and the knowledge of cybercriminals, has evolved over the years, costing the industry millions of dollars. At Continental Title, and with a little extra scrutiny on your end, you can have faith your transactions are safe.