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Barbara's Blog

Protection From Fraud

November 18th, 2021 12:43 PM by Barbara Doeringer

When you are finally closing on your dream home, it’s time to wire your funds to the title company.  You follow the directions of an email that came to your inbox.  However, the email was fraudulent and you have just lost all of your downpayment and your dream home! 

 This is called wire fraud, and it is happening all over the country.  Criminals comb through sites looking for pending home sales.  Once identified, they will find contact information for the parties involved in the transaction.  Then they hack into a real estate agent’s or title company’s email system, monitor communications, and at the right time, send a fraudulent email that looks like it’s from a trusted advisor.  That email will offer falsified wire transfer instructions to steal mortgage payoff funds, a downpayment or closing costs.  

Here are some ways you can avoid becoming a victim:

  1. Be sketical.  Beware of any changes in wiring instructions that is not the same name as the title company.
  2. Ask for phone calls.   Ask for all wire transfer instructions to be delivered to you via phone with the number listed on the title company’s website.  If you do receive fraudulent instructions, never call the number that it contains.
  3. Verify all communications.   Call the title company after you send any funds via wire transfer to verify it right away.  This will give you confirmation that the funds were sent to the appropriate account.
  4. Confirm the details.  Ask your bank to confirm the account number as well as the name listed on the account before sending a wire transfer.  
  5. Learn to spot a fraudulent email.   Look for misspellings, poor grammar and mistakes in the content.  The property address could be misspelled, dollar figures are missing dollar signs, or the return email address doesn’t match.  

Whippet Properties of Florida has its own wire transfer disclosure that is given to both sellers and buyers to educate them on this kind of fraud.   We will guide you to a safe closing with the title company.  

Should you be a victim of wire fraud crime in Florida, call the Attorney General’s Fraud Hotline at (866) 966-7226.  You should also file a complaint with the FBI at the nearest field office.  Locations are listed at fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on November 18th, 2021 12:43 PM

Scary, but really good to know. Thank you
Posted by Jean Graham on November 21st, 2021 9:21 PM


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