WHat is wire fraud in real estate transactions?
One of the fastest-growing cyber-crimes in the U.S. is wire fraud in real estate. About 11,300 people were victims of wire fraud in the real estate and rental sector in 2018 (a 17% increase over 2017), with losses of more than $150 million, according to FBI data.
See more information below.
Every day hackers try to steal your money by emailing fake wire instructions. Criminals will use a similar-looking (but fake) email address and steal a logo and other info to make it look like the email came from your real estate agent or title company.
The highest reported fraud in real estate in 2017 was Business Email Compromise/Email Account Compromise (BEC/EAC.) Fraudsters will assume the identity of the title, or real estate agent and forge the person’s email and other details about the transaction.
The scammers will then send an email to the unknowing buyer and provide new wire instructions to the criminal’s bank account.
You can protect yourself & your money by following these steps:
- Call, don’t click: Verify all wiring instructions before transferring your funds. Call the title company using an independently obtained and known phone number. Don’t use phone numbers or links from an email.
- Protect Your Money
- Be aware: It’s extremely rare that wiring instructions will change at the last minute, or that this information will be provided by email.
- Confirm everything: Ask your bank to confirm the name on the receiving account before sending a wire.
- Verify immediately: Within four to eight hours, call the title company or real estate agent to confirm they received your money.
What To Do If You’ve Been Targeted
- Call your bank and ask them to issue a recall notice for your wire.
- File a complaint with the FBI
- Report the crime to your local FBI office.
Making a report within the first 24 hours provides the best chance of recovering your money.
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