According to FBI reports, wire fraud and transfer scams involving real estate transactions have increased over the years due to scammers becoming more creative. As a home buyer, there are ways you can educate yourself and take cyber security measures to prevent fraud during your home buying process.
Being knowledgeable and aware is imperative. Keep your eyes and ears open to anything that may seem suspicious. Double check and call to confirm any wire instructions and never email your personal financial information. Trust your gut – if something seems off, it probably is.
Trust Your Real Estate Team
Make sure you’re working with a title agency that can guarantee zero fraud and secure any transactions you make through their agency.
Know Who You Are Supposed to Be Sending Money to
Too often buyers may not be aware of who they actually send the down payment or closing fund to. Which is typically your Title & Settlement Agent. All the more reason to know that you are sending money to the right place and also to call them prior to closing and verbally confirm wiring instructions.
Send Documents Safely
If possible, send any important documents through a secure transaction management system, rather than email. Email can be less secure. Call and confirm receipt of any documents your team whenever possible.
Be Wary of Urgent Requests
Throughout the entire home buying process, no one should be pressuring you to make fast decisions. After all, this is one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your lifetime. When it comes to wire transfers, it’s a huge red flag if someone emails you demanding a fast payment transaction.
Monitor Bank Accounts Daily
When wiring large sums of money, it’s important to keep a watchful eye on your bank accounts. You’ll be able to pinpoint any inaccuracy as soon as they happen.
What to do if fraud happens to you:
Don’t waste time. Contact your bank or wire-transfer company immediately. Reporting the scam or error ASAP can increase the chance that you’ll be able to recover your funds.
Call your real estate team and see what your options are.
Although there isn’t much that the police can do right now, call them to alert them about the criminal activity.
Change all passwords, especially your passwords for banking sites.
Don’t open any suspicious emails or links you may receive.
Fraud is scary but it can be avoided by taking the right steps and working with the right team. At Rally Point Title, we make it a priority to secure any and all transactions. Have questions on this topic? Give us a call 732-359-2009.