Cyber criminals are increasingly sending false messages on behalf of home sellers, real estate agents, title agents and lenders, and many times these messages involve instructions to transfer money.
Here are some measures you should consider taking to reduce the chances of falling victim to fraudulent instructions:
- CALL, DON’T EMAIL
Confirm all wiring instructions by phone before transferring funds. Use the phone number from your agent’s or title company’s website or business card.
- BE SUSPICIOUS
Title or escrow companies will not ask to change wiring instructions and payment information.
- CONFIRM WITH YOUR BANK
Ask your bank to confirm not just the account number but also the name on the account before sending a wire.
- VERIFY IMMEDIATELY
You should call your title company or real estate agent to validate that the funds were received. Detecting that you sent the money to the wrong account within 24 hours gives you the best chance of recovering your money.
- FORWARD, DON’T REPLY
When responding to an email, hit forward instead of reply and then start typing in the person’s email address. Criminals use email addresses that are very similar to the real one for a company. By typing in email addresses you will make it easier to discover if a fraudster is after you.