Wire Fraud: Fastest Growing Real Estate Cybercrime in the U.S
The Fazzini Group had an inside meeting to learn about Wire Fraud and Identity theft protection. We had a very informative meeting, learning a lot of Very important information, and ended with a DELICIOUS Ice Cream Social!
Interesting Fact: The FBI told the Washington Post that in 2017, cyber criminals stole or attempted to seat almost $1 billion from Real Estate purchase transactions. That figure is up from $19 million in 2016, which makes wire fraud the fastest growing Real Estate cybercrime in the U.S.
So what do we do...
Homeowners looking to buy can so several things to protect themselves: including: know when you could be targeted and be suspicious and alert as the most vulnerable time is right before a transaction closes and home buyer prepares to send a wire transfer; be wary of wire transfer emails that change the instructions at the last minute or as you to click a link or enter a password; scan the email for typos or other small inconsistencies- including the email address sending the instructions; always very if the wire transfer information you received in the email by phone or in person; consider using a cashiers check instead of a wire transfer; and change your password regularly and avoid emailing about wire instructions on an unsecured network, like that as a a local coffee shop.
Top 10 Tips to Avoid Cybercrime Losses:
- Create a log of all approved parties' phone numbers at the start of a transaction
- Avoid using free, web-based email accounts for business communications.
- Prior to closing execute an agreement with the seller/borrower indicating the method of funds transfer: check or wire.
- Remember: transactions that result ina large cash payment too a refinance borrower or seller are highly susceptible to attack
- Question and confirm by phone with approved parties any deviation to the funding agreement (see1); changes are not common and may indicate fraud.
- Confirm wiring instructions by phone with approved parties (see 1) prior to sending.
- Confirm receipt of wired funds by phone with the intended recipient (see 1).
- Practice good cyber hygiene: keep antivirus software up-to-date, don't click suspicious links. and use strong passwords.
- Slow down and stay in control; a slow, confirmed closing is still acceptable
- If you suspect fraud, act immediately: contact your bank and appropriate authorities.