Real estate wire fraud is a complex scheme that targets individuals making wire transfer payments during the home buying process. Typically, the homebuyer receives an email from attackers pretending to be real estate professionals and title agencies involved in the transaction. The fraudulent email contains wire transfer payment instructions usually regarding the down payment or closing costs. Unwittingly, the homebuyer sends the wire transfer payment to the criminal’s account.
Real estate wire fraud is on the rise. Notably, the FBI reports that since 2015, there has been an 1100% increase in the number of victims reporting and nearly a 2200% increase in money lost.
Homebuyers, the first step towards protection is acknowledging that you are already a target for real estate wire fraud. It’s also important to realize that professionals in the real estate sector have also been victimized. So, if you or someone you know is buying a home, please research and educate yourselves on real estate wire fraud. This research to protect yourself and your family is even more important than researching which properties you’ll view.
In view of the abundant and severe risks, what should you do if you receive an email instructing you to make a wire transfer payment? Consult these important tips from The Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud: