Cybercriminals are sneaky and opportunistic. A real-estate transaction gives them the opportunity to make a big score with minimal effort. When you’re completing a real-estate transaction, you may be targeted by cybercriminals who are after your money. Here’s how to recognize the scheme and avoid it.
How to Recognize a Scheme
A common way for cybercriminals to come after your money is through a phishing scam. They will often use a fake logo and real-looking email address, and the email will often contain some of your personal information to make it look authentic. Criminals don’t always pay attention to detail when sending these emails. Here are a few red flags to look for:
- Misspellings, poor grammar or poorly formatted emails
- Unusual email addresses
- Lack of your personal information
How to Avoid Wire Fraud Schemes
If you receive a suspicious request, here is how you should follow up:
- Be suspicious. It’s not common for title companies to change wiring instructions or payment information through email. If you receive a request for this, it’s likely a scam.
- Do not email back. Call your title company or realtor to confirm wiring instructions.
- Do not use email addresses, links or phone numbers from the email. Use the phone number of the title company that you’ve been dealing with.
- Confirm the name on the account with your bank before wiring money. If it sounds suspicious, do not move forward with the transaction, and call your title company right away to confirm.
- Call your title company after you wire money. Verify right away, within four to eight hours, that your money has been received.
What to Do If You’re Targeted
If you’ve already been targeted, here’s how you can begin to rectify the situation and get your money back:
- Act quickly. If money went to the wrong account, the best chance you have at recovering it is within the first 24 hours, so do not hesitate.
- Call your bank. Ask them to immediately issue a recall notice for your wire.
- Report the scam to the FBI through the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
- Call your local police department and the regional FBI office to file a report. They can help you start the process of trying to recover your money right away.
We are committed to keeping your money safe at all points in the transaction. Cybercriminals are crafty, but with a little vigilance and skepticism on your part you can avoid falling victim to wire fraud schemes. When in doubt, call us to verify any information that doesn’t seem right. We appreciate vigilant customers!
If you have questions about a potential wire fraud scheme or need assistance, reach out to us at 571-234-5589 or by email at [email protected].