Obviously, buying a home is a big deal – and not just for personal reasons. Most real estate transactions involve a person’s life savings and any criminal access to this information can be devastating. Hackers try to steal money every day by emailing fake wire instructions. One of the most common schemes? Criminals will use a similar email address and steal a logo and other info to make it look like the email came from your real estate agent or title company. It’s important that you stay vigilant throughout the closing process!
Now, we aren’t trying to scare you (well…maybe a little) but it is so important that you are aware of this common criminal practice and how to protect yourself and your money. Here are some of our most trusted practices and tips on how to do just that:
- Be Vigilant
- Call, don’t email: Confirm your wiring instructions by phone using a known number before transferring funds. Don’t use phone numbers or links from an email.
- Be suspicious: It’s uncommon for title companies to change wiring instructions and payment info by email.
- Protect Your Money
- Confirm everything: Ask your bank to confirm the name on the account before sending a wire.
- Verify immediately: Within four to eight hours, call the title company or real estate agent to confirm they received your money.
- What To Do If You’ve Been Targeted
- Immediately call your bank and ask them to issue a recall notice for your wire.
- Report the crime to IC3.gov
- Call your regional FBI office and the police.
- Detecting that you sent money to the wrong account within 24 hours is your best chance of recovering your money.