Beware of Wire Fraud

It’s undoubtedly going to happen that your phone will ring, you will answer and it’s going to be someone you’ve never even heard of.  John WHO?  Sally say what?  When you are first contacted by an escrow agent (or any party asking for sensitive info), email or call your real estate broker to make sure that person is who they say they are. You broker will know who reached out to you and can verify if they are a valid party to your transaction or not. Before you wire money ANYWHERE make sure to call your broker or your closing agent to obtain their instructions on how to wire the money to make sure it’s going to a legit source.
 
Don’t become a wire fraud victim – it STINKS!!   We have got YOUR back and want to make sure you know how to keep yourself safeguarded from a scam. Millions of people are targeted for wire fraud every year. Whether you’re a buyer or a seller it CAN happen to you – so please make sure to follow these simple steps to protect yourself while you’re transacting the largest investment in your life – YOUR HOUSE! 
 
Really – it’s fairly simple:

·Call your agent to verify the requesting source

·Call the escrow company and directly request their wiring instructions, and once you receive them, call them back to verify they are authentic to their branch.

·Sometimes hackers will monitor accounts waiting for the time you are going to be wiring funds. Most of the time no one knows the account is even being monitored by a hacker.  Those guys are good so remain defensive!

·Hackers will sometimes impersonate the Escrow agent or your Broker and ask you to wire funds immediately. They will send you wire instructions for an account that is being controlled by the hacker and create a sense of urgency to wire funds. They will tell you that your broker can’t be reached by phone, so you must only email them. IMMEDIATELY stop and call your broker, you have been hacked. Your Broker would never email you and ask you to wire funds. You can always pick up the phone and call you Broker.

·You should NEVER respond to an email that asks you to wire money. Always call before you wire money to keep yourself protected. 

·Finally…. Sometimes your gut intuition can be your best warning, so listen to that small voice telling you if something feels amiss!

Good luck and we hope this helps you to never fall victim to wire fraud!

 

Elizabeth Lutz is a licensed Realtor with The Connors Group at Windermere Group One and specializes in the team’s social media marketing.  Check out http://www.aprilconnors.com for more information.

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