Helpful Information for Buyers,
Sellers and Agents.
Beware of Wire Fraud
All parties to a real estate transaction are targets for wire fraud and many have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars because they simply relied on the wire instructions received via email without further verification. If funds are to be wired in conjunction with the real estate transaction, we strongly recommend verbal verification of the wire instructions through a known, trusted phone number prior to sending funds. Do NOT rely on phone numbers sent via email for wire instruction confirmation.
The following non-exclusive self-protection strategies are recommended to minimize exposure to wire fraud:
NEVER RELY on emails purporting to change wire instructions. Parties to a transaction rarely change wire instructions in the course of a transaction.
ALWAYS VERIFY wiring instructions, specifically the ABA routing number and account number by calling the party who sent (or should be sending) the instructions. DO NOT use the phone number provided in the email containing the instructions, use phone numbers you have called before or from a verifiable source such as the real estate contract. DO NOT send an email to verify as the email address may be incorrect or the email may be intercepted by the fraudster. LegacyTexas Title would never send revised wiring instructions.
USE COMPLEX EMAIL PASSWORDS that employ a combination of mixed letter case, numbers and symbols. Make your passwords greater than eight (8) characters. Also, change your password often and do NOT reuse the same password for other online accounts.
USE MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION for email accounts. Your email provider or IT staff may have specific instructions on how to implement this feature.
If you suspect fraud, contact your escrow officer (or your bank if you’ve already sent the wire) immediately. Time is critical when you’ve been a victim.
This information is not intended to provide legal or professional advice