Imposters. Impersonators. Fakes. Frauds. Phonies. You might call them by different names, but these scam artists have one thing in common: they pretend to be someone they aren’t and tell you a bogus story to con you into wiring them money.
What exactly is wire fraud? Wire Fraud is financial fraud involving the use of telecommunications or information technology.
Not only are real estate buyers simply getting an email containing wiring instructions that appear to be valid, now they are getting direct phone calls with wiring instructions.
How It Happens
Hackers break into email accounts of real estate agents for the sole purpose of gaining client information and closing details. The public caught onto the fraudulent emails, so the thieves began calling the buyer, directly, attempting to convince them that there are "new wire instructions." Too often, buyers will wire the funds to the fraudulent account before consulting with their agent.
Be aware that thieves can be very convincing. Since they may have gained access to your agent's email, they will likely have many pertinent details about your transaction.
What You Can Do
Your agent will not be offended if you call them directly and verify any wiring details before authorizing a transfer of funds. Further, your agent will appreciate your due diligence and your commitment to security.
Do not be a victim of wire fraud; always call your agent and verify any details before transferring funds.