Wire Fraud in Real Estate

Monday, Feb. 25th 2019

According to the FBI, email compromise crimes, including similar attacks on businesses, have been “spiking” in the past year. Between December 2016 and May 2018, businesses and consumers reported a 136% increase in losses related to these crimes. The fraudulent transfers have been sent globally, to 115 countries, the FBI said. Since 2013, losses to these types of crimes have topped $12 billion.

There are steps homebuyers should take to make sure they are protecting themselves from falling victim to fraudsters, according to Kalember and the FBI.

  • Be vigilant: Homebuyers should first just be aware that they may be a targeted by scammers in this manner, and should act accordingly to verify any suspicious correspondence associated with their home purchase or sale. 
  • Voice verify: It might seem cumbersome in an already long homebuying process, but following up emails with a voice verification is a must, Kalember said. That’s especially true if the email involves e-signing a document, logging into a new website, transacting money or supplying any kind of financial information
  • Talk to your bank: While not all banks may follow the guidelines you suggest, most will honor your request to not allow any wire transfers without a voice verification or other checkpoint from you. This is especially true for business accounts, but even individuals going through a real estate transaction can request a note be added to their primary accounts to put additional steps in place before allowing wire transactions to go through. 
  • Don’t react immediately to email: Emails asking you to take some type of action, purporting to be from the title company, attorneys, realtors, bank lawyers or others involved in a transaction may not be authentic. Regard any of them with suspicion, and you should follow up on known phone numbers for the individuals making the request to confirm.
Author: Kate Fazzini
“Scammers are tricking people out of enormous payments as they’re about to close on a house”
Source: CNBC

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/31/how-scammers-trick-new-homebuyers-with-wire-fraud.html


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