What Is Real Estate Wire Fraud and Why You Should Care
- Did you know wire fraud has increased 1300% since 2015?
- Wire fraud is a scheme involving an attempt to steal money sent by buyers on real estate transactions.
- These fraud attempts are happening throughout the country.
What Is The “Wire Scam”?
- Many email addresses can be found on social media and hackers use this information to facilitate their scheme.
- Email hackers target a buyer by sending fraudulent emails that appear to be from the buyer’s real estate agent, real estate broker, lender or the title company.
- The hacker’s email (designed to look legitimate) includes fraudulent wire instructions.
- If the buyer complies, the wired funds go to the hacker’s account.
- The hacker’s goal is to withdraw the funds from the account before anyone realizes the wire instructions were fraudulent.
What You Should Do
- Confirm wiring instructions verbally with your escrow officer and title company before initiating a wire.
- Do not use a phone number from an email signature line to initiate the call.
- Be suspicious of requests to wire funds more than a week prior to closing or requests to wire a partial amount.
- Most title companies do not require an advance deposit.
- Be suspicious of emails informing you of a change in the wiring instructions.
- If you prefer to use a cashier’s check instead of a wire, contact your escrow officer at least 5 days prior to closing to obtain instructions.
Please call me at (208)938-5533 if you have additional questions about real estate wire fraud.
During his 44 years of full-time real estate experience, Phil has helped thousands of past clients buy and sell quality properties in the Western U.S.
Phil is one of only ten local Realtors® (of nearly 5,500) honored with the coveted “Realtor® Emeritus” award from the National Association of Realtors®, recognizing 40 years in real estate.