Wire fraud continues to plague the real estate industry with a new scam – criminals are calling buyers directly to say that they have new wire instructions in order to steal closing funds. This isn’t something we’re just reading about in the news – we caught it happening to three buyers within our organization just last week.
This is in addition to hackers’ constant attempts to break into the email accounts of real estate agents so they can access client information and closing details. Armed with that data, they can then contact the buyer directly to convince them that there are new wire instructions.
Protect Yourself & Clients By:
- Always personally verify wire instructions.
- Use only trusted and verified phone numbers for Escrow companies and lenders.
- Be very suspicious of emails and phone calls with purportedly updated, revised or corrected wiring instructions. It is extremely rare that an escrow officer will change wire instructions during the course of a transaction.
- Use complex passwords and change them frequently. Remember, hackers are actively trying to break into your email. Don’t make it easy for them to do so.
- Activate two-factor authentication. This is critical when you use a personal email account, such as Gmail, Yahoo or AOL. This adds another layer of security, like a fingerprint scan or unique code, for access to your email.