If you are involved in email communications with someone requiring a wire transfer of funds, you can potentially fall victim to wire fraud.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued a warning to consumers regarding scams and phishing schemes that target homebuyer’s closing funds and down payments by monitoring and intercepting email communications among consumers, their real estate agents, their mortgage lenders, and their title companies.
Before wiring money, consumers should verify wire instructions with a pre-determined, trusted title company representative with whom you have previously communicated, and who can securely confirm the payment instructions in case of a diversion attempt.
Commercial transactions are also being targeted by scammers. If you or your company are involved in any business transaction in which funds will be wire transferred, you could become a victim of wire fraud.
Review of the means and methods of wire fraud prevention with your employees and financial institutions should be standard operating procedure for all businesses handling wire transfers, particularly via electronic communication.
This Consumer Financial Protection Bureau article details the mechanics of wire fraud and the methods scammers have used to steal billions of dollars from unsuspecting people and companies.
For more information reach out to W+L’s Real Estate attorney Roccina Niehaus.