tips to prevent real estate wire fraud

2 Tips to Prevent Real Estate Wire Fraud

Best Practices for Preventing Real Estate Wire Fraud

  • Secure your devices and accounts. Securing your computer, phone, and mobile devices, and practicing good email and password hygiene can make you less vulnerable to any cybercrime.
    Click here for best practices.
  • Be vigilant. All parties to a real estate transaction are potential targets. However, cybercriminals tend to prey on older buyers who they believe may have limited knowledge of cybersecurity or wire transfer protocols.
  • Consider using cashier’s checks instead of wiring funds. Your title company can verify checks with the bank prior to funding, which satisfies Good Funds requirements and eliminates your risk of wire fraud.
  • Learn your title company’s process for wiring funds. Many companies have policies against emailing wiring instructions. Ask your closing agent for a list of approved contacts and wiring instructions at the beginning of your transaction. Keep them handy to use as a reference.
  • Slow down. Fraudsters work hard to lull buyers into a false sense of security, so they don’t take the time to scrutinize requests. Always check the sender’s email address for irregularities. When responding to an email, use “forward” instead of “reply.” Typing in a trusted email address lowers your chance of accidentally replying to the cybercriminal that sent you a spoofed email.
  • Be suspicious of any changes to wiring instructions, especially on Fridays or before holidays. Changes to wiring instructions are rare and should only come from your closing agent. Since it takes 72 hours to wire money, fraudsters often request wire changes on a Friday or just before a holiday, so the funds are gone by the time anyone notices.  There is little your financial institution can do to recover funds once they are wired into a new account. 

Cyber liability is a growing risk across industries, especially real estate. We will put together a complimentary cyber risk assessment for your firm to help you identify and solve these risks.  Call today to talk to our specialist – (423) 777-6684.

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