How to protect yourself from the risk of wire fraud
With the added convenience of technologies like the telephone and internet, consumers need to be extra cautious to avoid fraud when they are sending money or providing their private banking information. Buyers and sellers of a real estate transaction have become the targets of wire fraud.
Someone impersonating the broker or escrow officer sends an email instructing the consumer to wire funds immediately. Even with extensive security, email accounts may be hacked or the sender may create a fake email address similar to the escrow team or broker. The wire instructions often refer to a sense of urgency and may even state that the broker or escrow officer cannot be reached by phone insisting that any follow-up must be by email. Once the Consumer wires the funds to the imposter, they are stolen with no recourse for the consumer.
Always confirm wire instructions with a live, confirmed representative and do not click on links without prior confirmation.
Follow these simple steps to avoid the potential risk of fraud:
- Be sure to obtain, confirm and note the phone number and email address of both your real estate agent and escrow contact at your first live meeting or by direct phone call.
- Review email instructions carefully and do not click on any links without confirmation that the email is from your escrow officer or real estate agent.
- Always look closely at the email address of the sender. Be wary of ANY variance in the sender’s email address. (For example, JohnSmith@fnf.com is not the same as JohnSmithFNF@FidelityServices.com)
- Never wire funds without confirming wire instructions directly with your broker or escrow officer.
At Best Way Lending whenever an email is sent for you to enter your private information we follow up with a phone call to confirm the email. It is part of our professional service to ensure you have a smooth, secure, and exceptional mortgage transaction.