In a recent article published in Forbes, It was found that Americans lost nearly $150 million to real estate scams in 2018.
As agents in the real estate business, we advice clients through the process of buying property as they make potentially one of the largest purchases they’ve ever made. Often times, buyers are required to wire large amounts of funds prior to closing, and this situation unfortunately opens a door to potentially dangerous scammers. Wire-fraud is becoming increasingly problematic as attacks are becoming more sophisticated and targeted to vulnerable parties.
Although as agents, we are not involved in the transfer of funds between buyer and escrow company, we feel that it is our duty to ensure our clients are AWARE of the fraud schemes and have the knowledge to protect themselves.
3 Quick Ways to Protect Yourself:
- Study the email carefully! Verify the spelling of the sender’s email to ensure it is in fact from the person it says it’s from. Scammers will oftentimes add in or change just 1 or 2 characters that generally would go unnoticed.
- Voice verify! Although it might seem cumbersome in an already long home-buying process, following up emails with a call to verify is very smart. This step is especially important if the email involves e-signing, using a new website, or supplying funds or any kind of financial information.
- Be vigilant and on guard. Regard any email asking you to take action with suspicion, especially when communicating with title companies, attorneys, lawyers, or realtors. These are the type of situations that hackers are targeting, so better to be safe than sorry!
We are proud to work with the most reputable title companies in the area that provide a secure, encrypted environment that protects client information and documents. We recommend our clients stay in close contact with the escrow officer handling the closing of a transaction as this is the best way to avoid any issues!