Wire Fraud: What You Need to Know When Buying a House

Unfortunately we are in a time when wire fraud is rampant in real estate transactions. Hackers are constantly trying to find their way into real estate transactions to steal money that the buyer wires to the title company. Often what happens is that the thief hacks their way into the email correspondence with the Buyer and tricks the Buyer into wiring their closing funds to the hacker’s bank account. Once it is caught, it is often too late to try to stop or recover the money. It is a very scary thought, and I hope that it never happens to any of my clients! Here are some tips on how to prevent wire fraud from happening to you:

  1. Make sure the email with the wire instructions is from who it says it is from! Often times the email will appear to be from, “[LoanOfficer]@[YourLender.com]” but when you double check the email address it will read something else, such as “<Hacker@gmail.com>”.
  1. If your wire instructions are coming from someone other than your lender or your attorney, this is a red flag! Call your attorney or your lender right away to confirm that the instructions are legitimate.
  1. Always call the title company to confirm that the wire instructions are correct before sending your wire.
  1. If the amount that you have to bring to closing is less than $50,000, you are not required to wire your funds. You can bring a certified check from your bank to closing instead, and eliminate the potential for wire fraud all together!
  1. My firm’s policy is that we will never email wire instructions. So if you receive and email that appears to be from my law firm, call the office right away.
  1. Hackers are continuously trying to find new ways to steal our money. If you see anything that is suspicious, contact your attorney right away!

If you have any questions about wire fraud or how to avoid it, feel free to contact me at lauren@campbellsanuwlaw.com or 708-485-4500.

Categorised in: Real Estate Law