Wire fraud is one of the fastest growing cybercrimes in the country. According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers reported losing $1.48 billion to fraud in 2018; that's an increase of 38% over 2017. Wire fraud is any event where an individual is tricked into sending money via wire transfer to a fraudster. Wire fraud includes imposter scams, debt collection schemes and identity theft.
Real estate transactions can also be a target for wire transfer fraud. These transactions often include multiple parties, buyer, seller, real estate agents, mortgage lenders, and title, closing and settlement agents. Fraudsters can use online real estate shopping tools to seek out transactions getting ready to close, hack into an unsecure email account for one of the individuals involved in the transaction and use that information to send wire transfer details to unsuspecting buyers. When obtaining title insurance, be sure you are aware of your transactions. Consumers and professionals in the industry need to be privy to these types of schemes so they don't fall victim.
These tips are meant to help keep you protected.
Becoming a victim to fraud can be a financially devastating blow to consumers and agents. Be vigilant when it comes to wire transfers; verify and reverify the information from trusted sources.