About to send your Final Down Payment for your Home Purchase? Watch out for scammers!
A wire fraud scheme is out to scam new home buyers out of thousands of dollars of cash right before closing. This new scheme hacks the buyer's email account and redirects the wire of their down payment to a scammers account (usually offshore). The problem is these payments are typically not insured or reimbursed by the bank and overseas wires are very difficult to track and recover.
These computer hackers target real estate professionals' (realtors, attorneys, escrow companies) emails and compromise them using malware. The scammers monitor the communications all the way to just before the date of closing. The day before closing they send an faux email that looks almost exactly like emails of previous
communications to have the buyer wire the money to a different account. These payments are difficult to reimburse as banks typically do not insure money that a client has personally authorized for wire.
Since 2013, according to the FBI losses to these types of scams have been topped around $12 Billion. In order to avoid this type of fraud it is best to be vigilant and double check any requests before you wire money to anyone whether for a real estate transaction or any other purpose. Do not move to quickly on an email requesting money and voice verify any request with a known phone number. Also, you can request additional steps be put in place at your bank before allowing your wire transaction to go through.