Wire Fraud is a growing threat in Real Estate transactions and millions of dollars are lost every year according to the National Association of Realtors®. Here’s how it all works: First, savvy criminals hack into email accounts through scammed passwords. Once inside, these hackers search inboxes for upcoming transactions, and monitor industry specific lingo to perfectly time their attack. Then, at just the right moment, a Hacker will send an email to the Buyer with fake wiring instructions. They’ll pretend to be the title agent, Realtor®, or closing representative, and the victim receives new banking information that directs them to wire their down payment and/or closing monies to the criminals account. This crime is especially disheartening when a buyer loses substantial savings and this can set off a chain reaction of victimizations.
Here are 3 Top Tips For Avoiding Wire Fraud from our Friend Leslie Heimer
1. Refrain from Using Public Wife
Never use a public or unsecured wireless network, when sharing sensitive documentation. These open sources do not require a password and have little cyber security measures in terms of encryption. Connecting to the internet through this open network can put your laptop or mobile device at a greater risk of being compromised.
2. Verbal Verification with Escrow Agent
Before authorizing a wire transfer, research the phone number of your title company and call directly to verify the wiring instructions, time and date, and bank routing information. After the wire is complete, call again to confirm funds have been received. Do not accept wiring instructions from anyone other than your escrow agent and be suspicious of any emails that direct otherwise. Look carefully at email communications and do not rely only on email instructions.
3. Lender Security Measures
Ensure your Lender has the latest in email encryption software and implements the highest protective measures and best practices in their cyber security efforts. Always use secure portals when uploading or sharing personal digital documentation and check the Better Business Bureau and even local Chambers of Commerce to verify email addresses or professional endorsements. Without the latest technology, it can be nearly impossible to prevent fraud attempts. Leslie Heimer says “You can trust American Liberty Mortgage with your home financing. Our company boasts today’s tightest controls in IT infrastructure and cyber security measures.”
If you’re considering purchasing a home, then getting pre-approved is one of the fist steps on the journey to homeownership. Contact us today to learn more about the home buying process or begin the pre-approval process right now. Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or invest in real estate, we look forward to the opportunity to serve you.
This post is the second in a weekly series titled Mortgage Mondays by Your Florida House Team. The content above was created in partnership with Leslie Heimer and American Liberty Mortgage.