Wire fraud during real estate closing is a serious problem. It costs Americans millions of dollars every year. In most cases, the victim is unable to recover the money. And while this type of fraud might be common, homebuyers can learn how to prevent wire fraud during closing.
If you want to learn about how this type of fraud occurs, we have a previous post on the topic. In this post, we will cover some of the steps you can take to protect against wire fraud.
Knowing the closing process is the best way to prevent fraud. Talk to your real estate agent or title company about the instructions for closing. Discuss valid payment options and the steps you should make. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the process before you need to complete the closing process.
You should obtain names and contact information for every relevant party to the transaction. This includes real estate agents, sellers, title agencies, etc. Try to get multiple contact options for each person. Additionally, you can build a list of names, email addresses, and phone numbers of relevant people in the transaction. Keep the information handy, so you can refer to it when necessary.
Scammers try to cause confusion by sending last-minute communications claiming there is a change to the process. While last-minute and urgent changes are possible, you should be wary. Don’t just blindly provide information or follow new instructions. Whether on the phone or by email, there are ways to verify if a communication is legitimate.
One way to protect against wire fraud is to call the person back or contact other people in the transaction. If you receive an email about changes, call the person to ensure it is not an imposter. You can ask the person for their name, title, and contact details for suspicious calls. You can then call back to check or verify the person’s identity with others in the transaction.
Don’t click links or send personal info in response to email requests. Most title companies, real estate agents, and lenders do not ask for sensitive information in emails. Instead of responding, contact the person through your phone number or email address.
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