Are you getting ready to enter the world of real estate? First of all, congrats! Buying or selling a home is a big deal, and it’s likely one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make. As you navigate the process, you should try to stay aware of any potential scams that could come up—including wire fraud.
Want to learn more about the dangers of wire fraud and how to avoid it? Here are all the details you won’t want to miss.
What Is Wire Fraud?
You might already know a little bit about wire fraud, but it affects the real estate industry in a different way. Simply put, real estate wire fraud happens when scammers pose as someone you trust, such as your lender, agent, or attorney, and ask you to wire your closing costs to a different account. They usually communicate in the form of a spam email, but they’re actually more convincing than you’d think.
While we’d all like to think we wouldn’t fall for these messages, fraudsters are getting better and better at what they do. However, there are a few red flags that can help you spot a fake email before you send off any of your valuable information (or worse, your assets).
What Are Some Red Flags?
Not sure if you’ve received a fraudulent email? You may want to think twice if a sudden message from someone requesting a change in your wiring instructions or a rush transfer appears in your inbox. A real estate professional will only send sensitive information, such as routing and account numbers, via a secure and encrypted connection…not just an email.
Although scammers can craft pretty convincing messages, you’ll want to double check all virtual communication before wiring your money. If something seems off, even by a single letter or number, it’s time to give your agent a call.
How Can I Avoid Wire Fraud?
Now that you know how to spot wire fraud, it’s important to stay vigilant throughout the entire buying or selling process. If you want to add another layer of protection, call your bank and ask for a verbal confirmation before any wire transfers can be made from your account.
Remember, always be wary if someone you trust sends an email saying they need a rush transfer and don’t have time to talk. Scammers often take advantage of flustered buyers and make it seem like they won’t be able to close if they don’t send the money. If you ever have any doubts, just reach out to your agent (preferably by phone).
Looking for a Charlotte Real Estate Agent?
If you’re on the hunt for the right Queen City agent, Charlotte Home Links is here to help. We’ll always look out for your safety, and we have all the info you need to know on wire fraud. Just reach out with any questions!