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What Is

Wire Fraud?

What Is Wire Fraud?

Wire fraud is one of the fastest-growing cyber crimes in the US, but what is it, exactly? Simply put, real estate wire fraud occurs when a scammer impersonates someone you trust, like your lender, attorney, or agent—usually via email—in order to provide instructions for wiring your down payment or closing costs to a falsified bank account.

Don't make the mistake of dismissing this type of fraud as "something you'd never fall for"; these scammers are able to create incredibly detailed imitations and even provide personal information.

So, if they're so good, how do you spot a fake?

How Do You Spot Wire Fraud?

Though scammers are pretty good at tricking buyers and sellers into thinking they are who they say they are, there are usually a few warning signs. Here's what to be on the lookout for.

There's a change

If your attorney or lender suddenly emails you to provide an updated account number or address, this should signal that something strange is up.

There's an urgent demand

If your attorney or lender emails you warning that a transfer must be made within a short period of time, this should be another red flag.

A detail is off

Even if everything looks right at first glance, you might find a slight variance upon further inspection, like one letter being off in your lender's email address.

How Do You Prevent Wire Fraud?

Alright, you know the warning signs. But even the most diligent of us can overlook the details, especially if a scammer is good. Here are some things you can do to prevent wire fraud from happening to you.

  • Discuss the closing procedure with your attorney, lender, and agent. This is probably a conversation best held in person, and definitely not over email!
  • Be leery of any changes. If your agent, lender, or attorney suddenly makes a change to the closing process you discussed, you might want to call them back to confirm.
  • Never send personal information over email. Fraud is much easier when a scammer has access to your personal information, so don't give them the opportunity!
  • Be wary of personal information sent to you over email. Most lenders and attorneys have secured systems for sending important information, and likely aren't going to send you their bank account numbers over email.
  • Always call to confirm. Even if nothing feels off, it never hurts to call your attorney or lender to confirm all data before making any kind of wire transfer.

Buying or Selling in Grand Forks, ND?

Are you thinking of buying or selling a home in the Grand Forks or Red River Valley area? Let RE/MAX Grand be your guide! Not only will we help you navigate the real estate process from start to finish, we'll also ensure your personal information is always safe and confidential at all times so you don't find yourself the victim of a ruthless crime like wire fraud. Contact us today to learn more, to ask any questions, or to start buying or selling!

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