In the real estate industry, wire fraud is nothing new. Potential home buyers from around the world fall victim to scammers every year, losing their life savings and missing out on their opportunity to purchase a home.
The National Association of REALTORS® recently shared one victims story. Aaron Cole, of Canby, Oregon lost $123,000 to scammers and almost missed out on his dream of owning a home. You can read more about Aaron's story HERE.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently issued another warning about the growth of phishing scams targeting real estate professionals’ email exchanges with clients.
The CFPB offers these tips on keeping transactions safe:
Always identify two trusted individuals to confirm the closing process and payment instructions. Consider creating a code phrase known only by the trusted parties as a way to confirm identities over the phone.
Avoid exchanging any details about your closing over email.
Before wiring money, confirm instructions—in person or phone—with your trusted representatives. Never follow instructions contained in an email.
Avoid using phone numbers of links contained in an email.Never email financial information.
Be mindful of phone calls you receive. Scammers may sometimes contact a client to verify personal or financial information. Always refer back to trusted professionals to confirm.
Report suspicious activity right away. If you suspect funds have been taken, contact your bank or title company immediately and ask for a wire recall. You can also file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.