Fraud Alert: Keep Your Money Safe!
Normally I offer tips to buyers and sellers, talk about the market, or discuss trends in housing. Today I want to warn you about a new scam affecting home buyers and sellers.
Closings use wired money. Except for small dollar amounts, paper checks are a thing of the past. Buyers and banks send funds to title companies and title companies send funds to banks and sellers. It’s a system that works well and is more secure than passing old paper checks. Unfortunately, thieves learned about the wire system and found a smart way to route money their way.
Instead of trying to hack a bank, the thief hacks into a Realtor’s email account and learns the identity and email addresses of buyers and sellers. Next, the thief sends a fake but official looking email to someone requesting a wire transfer of funds. The client, not recognizing that the email is fake, wires the funds as requested to the thief’s account. The thief quickly withdraws the money and is never to be found.
How can you avoid being defrauded? Never wire funds without verification! Always call your title company to verify the legitimacy of the wire request and the routing numbers. If something seems suspicious, forward the entire email directly to your title company contact to request verification.
If you have questions about the buying and selling process, please don’t hesitate to contact Mike Kwiatkowski of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. I am always happy to help!