Buying and selling a home is an exciting time, but there can be pitfalls for unsuspecting consumers. You should be aware that criminals use wire fraud schemes to steal money meant for home purchases or the proceeds from the sale of the property. Criminals often begin the wire fraud process by using email messages, website forms, or phone calls to steal your email login and password information.
Check out these resources to protect your money:
Have you been targeted in a wire fraud scheme?
File a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. Watch this video to learn how to complete the form:
Safeguards to Follow
Consumers are encouraged to follow these steps to help reduce the risk of becoming a wire fraud victim.
- Call don’t email: Confirm your wiring instructions by phone using a known number before transferring funds. Don’t use phone numbers or links from an email.
- Be suspicious: It’s uncommon for title companies to change wiring instructions and payment info by email.
- Forward, don’t reply: When responding to an email, hit forward instead of reply and then start typing in the person’s email address. Criminals use email address that are very similar to the real one for a company. By typing in email addresses, you will make it easier to discover if a fraudster is after you.
- Confirm everything: Ask your bank to confirm the name on the account before sending a wire.
- Verify immediately: Call the title company or real estate agent to validate that the funds were received. The sooner it is detected that money has been sent to a wrong account, the better chance you have of recovering the money.