Modern technology like the internet has brought us many amazing capabilities, but it’s also created certain risks and avenues for unscrupulous people to try and take advantage of others. And while this isn’t necessarily a huge concern in the world of real estate and buying property for sale, it does show up at times in one big negative area: Real estate wire fraud.
At Daybreak Real Estate, our agents are fully up to speed on how real estate wire fraud happens and the precautions needed to prevent it. Our transactions are all fully secured through high-level verification formats, and you never have to worry about information being compromised. Let’s look at how this kind of fraud happens to those who don’t have such protections, plus how it can be prevented in simple ways.
Real estate wire fraud takes place due to hackers, a common term for people who use computers and the web to infiltrate others’ information and use it for their own gain. The first step of this process during a real estate situation will be them invading the account or computer of someone involved in your real estate transaction – it might be you, but it could also be the seller, listing agent, a brokerage assistant, an attorney, or even someone with the title company. Not every party involved here necessarily has the online and computer security needed to deflect this sort of attack, and may be compromised without even knowing it.
Once hackers have access to someone’s account here, they will spend time monitoring it and collecting important details. They’ll find the address of the property, for starters, plus names and information for buyers, brokerages, sellers, title companies and any financial institutions helping with the transaction. Perhaps most importantly in many cases, they’ll look for the closing date that’s planned for the sale.
When the closing date is near and hackers know you, the buyer, are anticipating it, they will strike. You’ll be sent a fake email from your mortgage broker or financial institution’s compromised account, one that contains wire transfer instructions. Because this email is from a legitimate account and looks real, buyers often fall for it and send funds to an offshore account – at which time they are not able to be recovered.
Luckily, you can prevent this from happening to you with several basic tactics:
- Be suspicious of emails: In reality, financial institutions will never request this kind of sensitive account and payment information over an email. If you receive this request, you should be highly suspicious and should contact them through another avenue to be sure it’s legitimate.
- Call recipient: You can also directly call the intended recipient of the funds to verify the instructions.
- Verification: Ask your bank to add voice verification or another similar security measure before allowing wire transfers from your accounts. This is one added step, but it’s well worth it to keep you protected.
For more on avoiding real estate wire fraud, or to view or learn more about any of our beautiful homes for sale and rent, speak to the pros at Daybreak Real Estate today.
About the Author:
Utah Dave - Daybreak Neighboorhood Expert and Local Resident
My friends nicknamed me Utah Dave in high school because they said it didn't matter where we went in Utah, I would know how to get there and who we needed to talk to. The name sticks today as UtahDave has formed into a professional real estate network of Neighborhood Experts all across the state. I live in Daybreak with my wife and 4 amazing children. I enjoy dancing (which is how I met my wife Dawn) as well as traveling, coaching, and learning.