What is Wire Fraud?
Wire fraud is a type of fraud that uses electronic communications to illegally obtain money. This can include making false representations via email or on the telephone. Unfortunately, because real estate transactions deal with large amounts of money and sensitive information, they have become a common target for wire fraud.
How Does Wire Fraud Work?
Wire fraud happens when a scammer obtains money based on false representation or promises. For example, you may receive wire instructions which appear to be from the settlement agent or attorney, when in fact they are from the scammer.
What Precautions can I take to Protect Myself from Wire Fraud?
There are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself from wire fraud during a real estate transaction. Essentially, you need to be extremely careful with how you share information and who you are sharing it with. It’s important to confirm that you are talking to the people you think you are.
- Do not share your online banking login information (user ID and password) with anyone.
- Do not share your account number with anyone who does not need it.
- Never access your bank account using a public computer (e.g., at the library or a hotel business office).
- Monitor your accounts regularly for unauthorized transactions. Report any unauthorized transactions to your bank immediately.
- Be suspicious of emails from free, public email account domains as they are often a source of risk.
- Watch out for phishing emails with embedded links, even when they appear to come from a trusted source.
- Install a firewall on your computer to prevent unauthorized access.
- Be skeptical of any change in wiring instructions.
- Confirm wire and other disbursement instructions received by email via confirmed telephone at a known or independently confirmed number, not the telephone number at the bottom of the email.
During any real estate transaction, it is important to be vigilant in keeping track of your funds and information, and make sure that you are working with a title & escrow company that takes your security seriously. As your closing partner, Two Rivers Title Company is continuously looking for ways to insure our clients’ financial safety throughout the closing process. Contact us today to learn more about our services.