Real Estate Tip of the Week: Wire Fraud

Being tricked into doing something for a prank is one thing, but being tricked into wiring thousands of dollars to a scammer – that’s a completely different story.

As a real estate agent, it’s critical to help guide your client from falling into a trap of wire fraud. In 2017, the Internet Crime Compliant Center saw a 480% increase in the number of complaints filed last year in the real estate industry. The amount stolen in these wire transfers was a $19 million dollar difference than in 2016.

One way to secure your buyer’s confidence in the transaction, is to help educate them in identifying, avoiding, and reporting potential fraud.

Here are the top three ways to help protect your clients from a scammer:

Hacked Email Accounts

Instruct your buyers to pay attention to how the wire instructions are sent. It’s best to pay attention and only accept instructions that are secure and encrypted. If anything at all seems suspicious, directly call your title company.

Verify Transfers

Before your buyer sends the wire, urge them to verify the wire instructions that were sent – have them call the title company or closing agent.

Weary of Changes

It is very rare for instructions to change on a wire transfer – especially if the instructions are wanting the change to be taken care of immediately. If they receive any email or notification instructing them of a change, have them confirm with you (the real estate agent) or the title company.

While it’s unfortunate that wire frauds have climbed exponentially, there are still ways to combat it – and the best way is educating your clients.

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