There are bad guys out there looking to steal your money by making you wire funds to what appears to be a legitimate destination when in fact it is going into their pockets.
Scenario: You are buying your dream house and cannot wait until the closing when you can finally move in and celebrate. As the closing date approaches, you are being instructed to wire your cash portion of the closing costs (approximately $80,000) to the title company. However, the numbers are being adjusted daily so you have to wait until the day of the closing to wire the final amount. On the morning of the closing, you receive instructions via an email that looks like it is from your title company, but in fact is a fake e-mail from the bad guy. You would never know the e-mail is a fake since the duplication is done masterfully! Anxious to comply so as not to delay the closing, you wire the final amount from your personal checking account ($81,469 of your hard earned money) and bam – you have been scammed.
#1: First thing you need to do is BE AWARE! Know that this is happening and that e-mail identities are being created that make this type of fraud very subtle and difficult to detect.
#2: Seeks ways to authenticate the wire instructions to make sure it is legitimate. Calling the person is fine, but that alone is not enough.
#3: Engage professionals who are keenly aware of this problem and can minimize and insure against this risk.
How We Can Help
Serra Law Group has been representing buyers and sellers in real estate transactions for over 30 years and we understand the many risks and pitfalls. We also engage professionals in real estate transactions, including title companies, that safeguard these situations as a way of protecting all parties. They do this by using protocols that require levels of authentication and assurances that wire instructions are legitimate and secure.
No one wants to get ripped off. Engage professionals who know what they are doing, and you can trust. You have enough to worry about.