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Wire Fraud Warning

PLEASE READ THE MESSAGE BELOW BEFORE SENDING FUNDS:

Real Estate transactions are increasingly becoming a preferred target for fraudsters attempting to steal money. Their primary method is to email or call parties to a real estate transaction in which they pretend to be the Title Company or Real Estate Agent facilitating the sale or purchase. These emails/calls appear very authentic and buyers and sellers have fallen victim to fraudulent instructions to wire closing funds. It is critically important that all wire information be verified as a legitimate source before sending any funds. If you have any questions, please contact us about this or other ways to protect yourself.

IF YOU HAVE BEEN VICTIMIZED BY WIRE FRAUD, HERE IS WHAT THE FBI RECOMMENDS THAT YOU DO AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE:

WHEN SPEAKING TO LAW ENFORCEMENT, THEY WILL WANT TO KNOW:

  • The name and address of your bank
  • Your account number
  • The name & address of the bank where funds were sent 
  • The beneficiary’s name
  • The beneficiary’s account number
  • The correspondent bank (if applicable)
  • Dates and amounts transferred
  • IP and/or e-mail address of the fraudulent e-mail
PlayFraudRacer

Wire Fraud

There are a lot of cyber-criminals out there, and they steal billions of dollars through cyber-fraud every year. We have a team of Information Security and Legal professionals who work tirelessly in the daily fight against these cyber criminals. This short video is for real estate agents who serve a critical role in stopping wire fraud.

Fraudsters go where the money is, and therefore seller proceeds are one of their main targets. Your buyer is also a prime target for fraud.

How do fraudsters fool their victims? Fraudsters can hack into someone’s email account through a phishing scheme and gain the ability to read, send, copy, and even delete emails to cover their tracks. Once they have gained access, cyber criminals will often send buyers an email that looks like it came from you, or the title company handling the closing. The email appears to come from a reliable address and uses real estate terminology and a legitimate-looking email signature line.

Fraudsters can use these fake emails to fool victims into giving them personal details like a buyer’s contact information. They may also offer discounts and tell your buyer that they “must do this now!” in order to pressure them into making a mistake. Unfortunately, you will never see this email, only the buyer will.

Email is a must-use tool in business, so here are some steps that can be taken to protect against cyber-fraud:

Implement “two-factor authentication” With two-factor authentication, if a non-trusted device tries to access your email account, a message will be sent to your phone.

Education and Training: There is training available that can help you detect the signs of a fake email, such as poor grammar or bad syntax. This training also reinforces the importance of verifying an email address, using strong passwords and exercising caution when encountering suspicious links.

It is essential that you talk to your buyer about wire fraud, explaining to them what to look out for, and most importantly, imploring them to “Call before they wire!”

Your buyer must also understand how important it is to call a verified number from a website or the original paperwork to confirm wire instructions. Make sure that they do not call a number that is in an email because if the email is fraudulent, the number in that email will most likely be fraudulent.

If every buyer called before wiring, most, if not all, wire fraud would be eliminated. So please emphasize to your buyers how important it is to “Call before they wire.”

We work hard to prevent wire fraud from happening, but we can’t do it alone. With your help, buyers will be better educated and protected in the fight against fraud. If you have any questions, please email them to fraud@trgc.com.