Wire Fraud Advisory
Buyers and Sellers should utilize extreme caution when wiring funds in any real estate transaction. Hackers target email accounts of real estate agents, real estate brokers, and others that are involved in the real estate transaction, including mortgage companies, title companies and or closing attorney's. These hackers will intercept emailed wire transfer instructions, obtain account information and then they alter some of the information, and then use emails to redirect the funds to a different account. These emails look like legitimate emails from parties in the transaction and are very convincing.
Buyers and Sellers are advised to be very wary of emails with wiring instructions.
Below are some steps that should be taken when dealing with wiring instructions:
Never wire funds without personally speaking with the recipient of the wire to confirm the routing number and account number are correct.
Never give personal information such as social security numbers, account numbers, credit card numbers, etc., unless it is through a system that has secure/encrypted email to the intended recipient.
Verify contact information for the wire transfer recipient is legitimate. Sellers and Buyers should each call using a phone number that has been independently obtained, NOT the phone number contained in the email containing the wiring instructions.
Always take steps to secure the system you are using with your email account by using strong passwords and secure WiFi.
If at any time in a real estate transaction, you suspect suspicious wire transfer instructions, immediately notify your financial institution, the escrow agent, and your real estate agent.
If you think you have been a victim of wire fraud, contact your local FBI field office and/or file a complaint online at www.Ic3.gov