WIRE FRAUD IS A REAL THING AND HAPPENS EVERY DAY
Some Helpful Tips to Protect You
Very often in today’s Real Estate transaction’s there is a lot of info sent via email.
Here is a recent story I was told from a title agent that I would like to share with you:
A Seller signed a deed package and was not present at settlement. All normal stuff so far, right? After settlement, the title company received an email from someone whom they believed to be the Seller, instructing them to wire their proceeds to a different account than was previously provided. The title company proceeded to wire the funds to that account as instructed in the email without calling the Seller to confirm the email request. Long story short, the title company received a phone call from the Seller inquiring about the whereabouts of the money after settlement. As it turns out, the Seller’s email was “spoofed” and the money was wired to an account that didn’t belong to the Seller and the money is now gone. It goes without saying that this has created some very serious issues for all involved.
Here are some helpful tips when working through a real estate transaction or when wiring funds.
ALWAYS PERSONALLY VERIFY wire instructions.
DONOT AGREE to requests to forward wire instructions to other parties (or their brokers).
BEVERY SUSPICIOUS of emails with purportedly updated, revised, or corrected wiring instructions. It is extremely rare that a lawyer or title agent will change wire instructions during the course ofa transaction.
PERSONALLY CALL the party who sent the instructions to confirm the ABA routing number or SWIFT code and the credit account number, but do not use the number provided in the sender’s email. A hacker may have inserted a fraudulent telephone number in the email. Use only phone numbers that you have called before or can otherwise verify.
MAKE SURE you are not sending or requesting sensitive financial information in emails (e.g., Social Security numbers, bank accounts, credit card numbers, wiring instructions).Also, use strong passwords (e.g., 8 characters including both letters and numbers, nothing obvious) and periodically change your passwords.
DON’T open attachments or click on links from unfamiliar sources because they could contain malware or be a phishing scheme which once opened allows a hacker the same access that you have to your computer and accounts.
We advise all of our clients to personally verify all information and when dealing with a title company all information pass through us first. Part of our job is to protect our clients from issues.
Please call 717.735.1323 to ask any questions or to talk with one of our Realtors. We pride ourselves on always being available and being of help.