It’s important to be aware of wire fraud when transferring money, especially so in real estate. Wire fraud occurs when a buyer or seller believes that they are sending their money to their attorney to complete the transaction, only to find that their money has actually been sent elsewhere. 

 

Hackers can become aware of the closing by compromising the email accounts of the Buyer, Seller, Attorney or Real estate agent. By ‘listening in’ on the emails sent back and forth between the parties they can gather the information about the timing and amount of the wire transfer. They then send fake wiring instructions that look like they are coming from someone inside the transaction to try to get you to send your hard earned money to them instead. There are four recommended ways to protect yourself from this kind of fraud;

 

  1. Regularly change your email password
  2. Make sure the wiring instructions are sent to you from a secure, password protected attorney website. Wiring instructions will not come from a free email service like Gmail, Yahoo or AOL. 
  3. Do not accept changes to wiring instructions.
  4. Call or visit the attorney to verify the wiring instruction.

 

You can ensure that you are four steps ahead by taking these simple precautions during your real estate transaction.

 

-Jennifer Donahue

 

Read this Realtor Magazine Article – Couple in Kansas lose their entire $130,000 down payment due to wire fraud.