Fortunately, none of my clients have experienced or fell victim to wire fraud when closing on a home. However, this is a problem that many people have faced and seems to be occurring more often. Their stories are horrifying. When purchasing a home, there are many emails that circulate from the title company, mortgage company, both listing agent and selling agent, their assistants, attorneys, and so on. Because this transaction involves so many people, most homeowners tend to trust all senders emails.
Wire Fraud Scamming The Homebuyer
A scammer uses spoofing and phishing tactics and attempts to obtain and steal sensitive information. These scams target homebuyers who are nearing the closing date of their new home. They manage to gain access to buyer’s email accounts and sends an email with wire instructions. They do this by setting up an email account that is very similar to either an agent, lender or title company that you are dealing with. For instance, email@example.com becomes firstname.lastname@example.org. See the difference? The email will probably look genuine (but maybe not) with the company logo and contact information giving fraudulent wiring instructions.
In my opinion, these scammers know buyers are vulnerable, stressed, excited, and a “let’s get this thing over with” kind of person. If you receive an email from anyone asking for money, always check the email addresses (check the source in the email header as well) as your chances of recovering your hard-earned money is slim.
If purchasing a home is in the future for you, protect yourself from wire fraud:
- Call your real estate agent, title company, lawyer, lender, or whomever the sender claims to be if they are requesting financial information. Do not call the phone number on the email itself as it may send you to the scammer.
- Never reply or click on any links to the email that gives wire transfer instructions.
- Do not email any financial information to anyone.
- Furthermore, verify all inquiries.
Use A Reputable Title Company
Your real estate agent will know which title companies are great to work with. Bring your wiring instructions to closing and always call your title company to confirm any other instructions received.
For more information on email scams, please visit these other resources:
*Disclaimer: This information is for informational purposes only and not as legal advice.