You’ve done it! You took a Buyer from shopping for a house, to a contract on a house, to the closing table and you couldn’t be more ecstatic for them. Then… in total shock you find out your Buyers have wired thousands of dollars to a thief! You discover the “I could never be a victim to wire fraud, it’d never happen to me” has actually happened to you! It’s becoming more and more common in our industry and way more sneaky and sophisticated than you may think.
Unfortunately, we are seeing attempts to divert wires to imposters’ accounts on a weekly basis, leaving the Buyer, Seller, Realtor and Title Company at risk. More often than not, the fraudster hacks into the Realtor’s email account (yes YOUR email account) or creates a close duplicate email account along with your exact signature, and then posing as the Realtor gives bogus instructions trying to divert the funds of one of the parties involved. It’s happening and it could very well happen to you! As a Realtor, the video below is a great tool to send to your Buyers & Sellers warning them of the risk. NAR’s General Counsel, Katie Johnson, has made this video to help you educate your clients on how to avoid being in a wire fraud scam.
Here at Independence Title, we have put many policies and procedures in place to combat this growing issue. This document is a great tool to send to clients during the contract process. We send this out to all parties with a commitment and/or contract. It is critical that you take the time to educate your Buyers and Sellers and warn them of this risk.