I wanted to give my readers a bit of a public service announcement with this article. Recently, 74 people were indicted on wire fraud related to real estate purchases.
How does this scheme work? Hackers are locating people who are in the process of buying a home or other real estate. The hacker then spoofs an email from the escrow company that you are using for your particular home or building purchase. Wiring instructions are sent saying something like, “Your down payment’s should be sent to our escrow company. Here are our routing number and account numbers.”
As it turns out, that’s not the routing number nor is it the account number of the escrow company, and hardworking Americans send their money to these scammers.
If you’re in the process of buying a piece of real estate my hope is that your escrow company is shares this information with you. It is absolutely mission critical that you call the escrow company, speak with the escrow officer, and verbally verify the account number and routing number. Don’t just rely on things that have come via email. You could find yourself the victim of wire fraud. I’m so happy that almost 100 people have been indicted and taken off the streets so that they can’t harm future purchasers.
The tip here involves ensuring that you call the escrow company directly. Another pro-tip is not to call the phone number on the wiring form that comes via email as that could also be fake. Call the number that you find for them on Google or on Yelp, and verify that you’re talking to the right person before you wire that money in. Better yet – stop by and talk to someone face to face if possible.
Here is a link to the news article about the 74 people that have allegedly committed this crime.
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