Wire fraud: 5 tips to protect your funds
Your closing date is approaching and soon that dream home will be yours. But you just received an email or phone call requesting funds immediately, or different wiring instructions are provided. What do you do? These are red flags for the strong possibility of wire fraud, and we have strategies to keep your money safe.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Compliance Center (IC3) just released its 2021 FBI Internet Crime Report. There were 11,578 victims of real estate and rental wire fraud with a combined loss of $350,328,166. Real estate and rental wire fraud ranked No. 5 out of 30 Internet crime types.
These numbers are daunting, but you can avoid being a victim of wire fraud if you follow a few simple steps:
- 1. Create separate password for all accounts: Yes, it can be a challenge to remember numerous usernames and passcodes, but if you have the same security information for a few or all your accounts, you run the risk of a cybercriminal having access to a few or all your accounts.
2. Confirm legitimate email addresses and phone numbers from real estate agent, lender and/or title company: At the beginning of your homebuying or refinancing process, make sure you are working with real estate professionals that are fully licensed and in good standing.
When you receive their email addresses and phone numbers, these are trusted points of contact.
- 3. Be suspicious of a new email or phone number: If you receive an email or phone number that does not match the contact information you received from your trusted real estate professionals, call the trusted number you were originally provided, to investigate.
- 4. RUSH or IMMEDIATELY are buzz words. Call your real estate professional to confirm an email with “rush” or “immediately” is valid, but most likely, it’s fraudulent.
5. Wire instructions will ONLY come from the title company. The buyer initiates the request for wire transfer instructions.
If you receive different wiring instructions seemingly from your real estate agent or lender, this is fraud.
If you receive an email supposedly from your real estate agent, lender or title professional with a different email address or a different contact number, call your point of contact on the initial phone number you received to confirm if the new email or phone number is authentic.
Federal Title & Escrow has specific wiring instructions. If you receive a phone call or email that specifies otherwise, call us immediately.
Stay vigilant and your funds can move where and when you desire.