Don't Be Tricked
Beware. More and more homebuyers are being scammed by hackers in a wire fraud scheme.
According to the FBI, homebuyers are being targeted in an email phishing scam. A hacker will send an email that mimics your escrow officer, real estate agent, or your mortgage lender, and instruct you to wire your money. Once you wire your money to this fraudulent account, there’s very little you can do to get your funds back.
What can you do to protect yourself? The simplest way to avoid this scam is to submit your deposits via check. To take this to the next level, you should personally drop off your deposit checks to escrow. You, as the homebuyer, should take the time to verify everything.
If you have to wire your funds, you should get a hardcopy of the wiring instructions from your escrow officer. In addition, if you have any questions about the wiring instructions, you should call your escrow officer (not email). Also, it’s important to know that most escrow companies will never request wiring instructions via email. If you see something fishy, you should be suspicious – trust your instincts.
When you email with your real estate agent, mortgage lender, and or escrow officer, it might be beneficial to communicate through a secured and encrypted email platform. In addition, it’s equally important that your computer has antivirus and your computer’s operating system is up to date.