Real Estate transactions are becoming a preferred target for fraudsters attempting to steal your money. Their primary method is to email or call parties to a real estate transaction in which they pretend to be the Real Estate Agent or Title Company facilitating the sale or purchase. These emails and calls appear very authentic and buyers and sellers have fallen victim to fraudulent instructions to wire closing funds. It is critically important that all wire information be verified as a legitimate source before sending any funds. Before sending funds, PLEASE CALL US. Please call us on a known number that has been independently verified, not the number in an e-mail, to verify instructions before transmitting. We are not responsible for funds that you send to an incorrect bank account. If you have any questions about this or other ways to protect yourself please contact us.
Here are five tips to protect against wire fraud:
Call us initiallyBefore sending funds, call us on a number that has been verified. Do not use the phone number in an e-mail, even if the e-mail looks like it is from us.
Call us if you are suspiciousBe apprehensive of any e-mail asking for money early or asking for a portion of the money needed to close. Do not trust an e-mail that changes, updates or is “re-sending” wire instructions – call us at a number you know is accurate if you are suspicious.
Call your bankAfter talking to us, call your bank to confirm not just the account number but also the name on the account before sending a wire.
Call us after sending us your moneyCall us to make sure we got it. It may take some time but keeping in touch is the best way to ensure there is not a problem.
Act quickly if something doesn’t seem right: Call the bank and authorities. If you think your money was sent to a fraudster, contact the authorities immediately as time is of the essence.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN VICTIMIZED BY WIRE FRAUD, THE FBI RECOMMENDS THAT YOU DO THE FOLLOWING AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE: Ask your bank to contact the bank where the fraudulent wire was sent. Contact your local Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) office. Click here to file a complaint with the FBI’s official Internet Crime Complaint Center For more information, visit www.ic3.gov.