Cybercrimes in the U.S. are increasing at a rapid rate. One of the most common ways someone can steal money from you online is by committing real estate wire fraud. Hackers can steal your money by sending you fake wire instructions. Often, they’ll use a similar looking email address and logo to make it look like your real estate agent or title company. Don’t be fooled! Many people have wired these scammers money because they think it’s someone they trust. Take these steps to protect yourself and your hard-earned dollars:
1. Be on Guard
It’s rare for wiring instructions to change last minute. If you talked through everything with your agent and then you receive an unexpected email, it could be a scam. Make sure you double-check with your agent or title company. Be on guard for suspicious emails.
2. Verify Everything
Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. If you are suspicious of an email, then call your real estate agent or title company yourself. Do not click the links in the email or use the phone number in the email. Make sure you verify all wiring instructions with your trusted source on the phone or in-person before wiring any amount of money.
3. Protect Your Money
Ask your bank to confirm the name on the receiving account before sending a wire. This is a good way to ensure that you avoid real estate wire fraud. You want to protect your money and make sure you’re sending it to the right person. After you wire the money, you should call within 4-8 hours to confirm they received their money.
4. Spread the Word
Don’t let your friends or family get hit with real estate wire fraud either. Share these tips with them so they don’t get scammed. If you’ve been a target with fraud, then you should call your bank and ask them to issue a recall notice for your wire. File a complaint with the FBI and report the crime immediately.
For more information on how to protect yourself from real estate wire fraud, you can download this form from TN Smoky Mtn Realty. Work with real estate agents you trust! For more updates on real estate news check out the TN Smoky Mtn Realty blog.