What is the Process Scammers Use to Access My Funds?
If you haven't heard before, the cases of wire fraud involved with real estate transactions have escalated with more and more buyers and sellers becoming victims. The scammers are becoming more sophisticated with them successfully hacking into the email accounts of people involved in a real estate transaction and monitoring the emails. At the point in which either the money to purchase the property becomes due or the seller's proceeds from the sale become available, the scammer will send a bogus email with wiring instructions to the buyer or seller. If the instructions are followed, the money will be sent to a legitimate American bank (usually Bank of America or Wells Fargo) at which point the funds are then transferred out of the country. If not caught in time, once the money is out of the country, it is almost impossible to retrieve it.
How Do I Protect My Assets in My Real Estate Purchase?
The steps involved to protect your assets are fairly simple and involve the following:
- Install effective malware software on your computer.
- Think before you click on a link. If you don't know the person who sent you a link, don't click on it! Even if you do know the sender, if the email looks suspicious, don't click on it.
- Don't use open/free/unsecured Wi-Fi.
- Use strong and unique passwords.
- ALWAYS call before wiring to verify that the wiring instructions are legitimate.
By far the number one way to protect your assets and to ensure that your real estate transaction is successful is to call and verify with the escrow officer or bank that the wiring instructions you have are legitimate. Make sure the account numbers you were given match those provided to you from your escrow officer or banker and only follow their instructions. Following this simple step should enable you to successfully close your real estate transaction and keep you from losing your funds.
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