The Dangers of Wire Fraud
Want to Stay Protected?
Whether you're buying or selling a home, you should always be aware of potential risks and scams along the way. Wire fraud can have some pretty devastating consequences, but with the right resources, it's easy to spot the red flags.
Looking for more info on how to stay protected during a transaction? Barrett Realty has you covered. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us. As always, your safety is our top concern, and we'll look out for you every step of the way.
What is Wire Fraud?
Unfamiliar with wire fraud? Don't worry—you're not alone. In the world of real estate, this scam involves someone posing as an agent and requesting large amounts of money via a wire transfer, which is often how buyers pay for their home at closing.
Wire transfers are almost always irreversible, which can leave you without the money you need to pay for your new home. The FBI has estimated that over $1 billion dollars has been stolen via real estate wire transfers in the last few years, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your savings.
Red Flags to Watch Out For
If you're about to close on your home, your real estate agent and attorney have probably given you instructions on what to expect before your wire transfer. Hackers often assume the identity of someone you trust and send an email requesting last minute changes, such as a new routing number or transfer recipient. Be sure to contact your agent via phone if anything changes—it's better to be safe than sorry.
Unfamiliar Numbers & Emails
Is someone posing as your agent? It might be hard to tell, especially via email. Hackers often hide behind computer screens to steal money from unsuspecting buyers, but there are ways to double-check and make sure you aren't getting scammed. Be sure to verify who is contacting you by checking their email address and reviewing any important account info. If it differs from what your agent originally gave you, you may want to think twice about replying.
Lack of Communication
So many buyers fall prey to wire fraud because they fear their transaction won't go through if they don't follow instructions. Many hackers send emails requesting a rush transfer, and they'll often refuse to speak on the phone if you have any questions. If your "agent" seems unusually evasive, it's best to contact them via phone or meet in person to verify that it's really them.
Go With Your Gut
When in doubt, it's always best to go with your gut feeling if it seems like something isn't quite right. There's a lot of written correspondence that goes into purchasing a home, so be sure to stay vigilant throughout the entire process and ask plenty of questions. After all, when you're dealing with some of your biggest assets, you'll want to make sure things go smoothly.
Buy Your New Home With Confidence
Looking for an agent that will help you navigate the ins and outs of buying a home? That's where we come in! Barrett Realty is dedicated to keeping you safe every step of the way. For more info on wire transfers and potential real estate scams, feel free to drop us a line. We're always available via phone or email!