Wire fraud is a real – and growing – danger for individuals who are buying homes. In 2018, fraudulent wire transfers stole $423 million from US consumers. The scammer’s favorite tactic involves sending an email to the buyer, telling them to use the new wiring instructions enclosed. Buyers often don’t think to verify the information, they just follow the instructions, and their money is gone.
In 2018, the Federal Trade Commission reported that the three top states for wire fraud were Florida, Georgia and Nevada. The real estate closing attorney will make sure their systems are protected and that funds are transferred to the correct accounts. Additionally, the attorney should provide wiring instructions early in the closing process, not a day or two before the closing. Smart buyers should be suspicious of any request to change wiring instructions. They should also verify the information by phone before proceeding.