Wire Fraud: A Real Threat

 

June 01 2016
June 01 2016
06.16.WireFraud

I want to highlight an area, which is becoming of great concern in the real estate industry.

Wire fraud scams continue to affect the real estate industry. Given the ongoing risks of wire fraud, it is imperative to maintain a heighten awareness throughout the transaction process of the real threat of wire fraud. I urge you to insist that all persons involved in your real estate transaction (lawyers, title agent, etc.) use the precautions listed below.

Precautions related to bank wire transfers include:

ALWAYS PERSONALLY VERIFY wire instructions.

DO NOT AGREE to requests to forward wire instructions to other parties (or their brokers).

BE VERY SUSPICIOUS of emails with purportedly updated, revised or corrected wiring instructions. It is extremely rare that a lawyer or title agent will change wire instructions during the course of a transaction.

PERSONALLY CALL the party who sent the instructions to confirm the ABA routing number or SWIFT code and the credit account number, but do not use the number provided in the sender’s email. A hacker may have inserted a fraudulent telephone number in the email. Use only phone numbers that you have called before or can otherwise verify.

MAKE SURE you are not sending or requesting sensitive financial information in emails (e.g., Social Security numbers, bank accounts, credit card numbers, wiring instructions). Also, use strong passwords (e.g., 8 characters including both letters and numbers, nothing obvious) and periodically change your passwords.

DON’T open attachments or click on links from unfamiliar sources because they could contain malware or be a phishing scheme which once opened allows a hacker the same access that you have to your computer and accounts.


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