Wire Fraud is one of the most serious issues affecting the real estate industry today. Cybercriminals have targeted Buyers, Sellers, Realtors, and Title Companies – resulting in over $18 billion dollars in losses.
Realty Advantage offers free ongoing classes to Realtors. In response to this growing threat, our most recent class was “How To Protect Yourself From Wire Fraud”.
Sarah Cline is a real estate attorney with the law firm Shulman Rogers. Sarah is an expert in the field and teaches Fraud Prevention to fellow attorneys. Sarah was kind enough to host this informative class. Agents learned how to identify potential threats, and educate their clients on what to look out for. Sarah demonstrated several real-world fraud attempts in recent emails for home sales.
One of the most common “scams” involves buyers who receive wiring instructions that appear to be from their Lender, Title Company, or Agent. The buyer thinks they are sending their purchase money to a Title Company – when in fact – they are wiring funds to a criminal’s account. Once the wire is complete, it is often impossible to recover the funds.
These crimes are increasingly sophisticated, so here are 9 Simple Tips to follow:
- Buyers should NEVER wire funds based solely on an email they received
- Buyers and Sellers should ALWAYS CALL their settlement, title, or escrow company to personally confirm any specific wiring instructions.
- When checking email, don’t just look at the “From” name, and Assume it’s from a known company.
- ALWAYS inspect the “From” email address as well
- Be especially careful if the actual “From” email address is not related to the company name or sender
- Also, be vigilant if the senders’ email address is a personal account (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc)
- Do NOT open suspicious looking attachments or links (.Zip files, odd DocuSign or Dropbox links, etc)
- When in doubt, ALWAYS call the agent, lender, or title company directly at a verified phone number
- Use Secure Email. To better protect yourself and your clients, consider is using Secure Email. These email services offer much higher encryption levels – at very reasonable prices.
IMPORTANT: To report suspicious email to the FBI, visit IP3.com
Realty Advantage is a full-service agency with 150 licensed Realtors. We offer free consultations and can help you buy or sell any home in Maryland, DC, and Virginia.
To schedule a Free Consultation, call 301-881-9800