The real estate business has been struggling with individuals referred to as Fraudsters or Money Mules for a while now. They will rob your entire life savings, in a matter of minutes by hacking into a finance business employee's email accounts and sending out wiring instructions for services to consumers. After the money is transferred, it is then moved to another accounts that is difficult to trace.
This has been happening so much to a point that two years ago, the Federal Trade Commission and the National Association of Realtors issued a warning. Anyone that is interested in buying a home should be aware of scammers who are posing as real estate agents, Realtors and title companies to steal consumers’ closing costs.
For the last six-months law enforcement including the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Treasury, the Postal Inspection Service, and several other agencies have finally been able to do something about it. The federal government announced Monday that it swept nearly 75 people who allegedly participated in schemes. Over the last two weeks, the agencies arrested 74 people total: 42 in the United States, 29 in Nigeria, and three in Canada, Mauritius and Poland.
The question remains, how can we stay safe while wiring a large amount of money?
The answer is simple..
Use a Reputable Title Company
Your agent will know which title companies are great to work with.
Leave The Real Estate Agent Out Of It
Only lenders, lawyers and title attorneys are involved with the wiring instructions.
When In Doubt, Do It In Person
It might be extra effort, but it could save you thousands of dollars.
When sending a wire transfer, pick up the phone and verbally verify the wire instructions with the recipient.
Have Wire Instructions Overnighted
If you are purchasing outside of your local area, ask the title company via telephone (not email) to overnight the wire instructions to you.
If you'd like to know more about the home buying process, contact one of our specialists today!