Wire fraud is an increasing problem when it comes to real estate transactions. Cyber criminals are experts at hacking email accounts and sending emails with fake wiring instructions. These emails can be convincing and sophisticated. Once funds are wired to a fraudulent account, the money is gone and there is no recourse unless something is done immediately.
You should never send personal information, such as financial information, via email (that is not encrypted) or any other unsecured electronic communication. Different e-mail provides have different security protocols. A popular e-mail security protocol is Transport Layer Security (TLS), which encrypts e-mail. If both sender and receiver use TLS, then the e-mail is encrypted. Ecrypted e-mails do not always require a log-in and password.
It’s also important to always confirm wiring instructions with your real estate agent in person or by phone using a recognized phone number that is not found in the potentially fraudulent email. Origin Title works closely with agents to correctly clarify wiring instructions and any other potential issues that could arise.
If you think you’ve been targeted in a wire fraud scam, notify law enforcement, your lender, the title company and your agent as soon as possible.