Wire Fraud – Is Still A Very Real Threat

Don’t be caught by the new age of cyber criminals as you are making some of your largest transactions

In the Real Estate Industry, nefarious circuits continue to target wire transfers, seeking to divert money during the final transactions of transferring real estate ownership. The results of this are devastating on so many levels, deeply impacting both the seller and buyer and shattering an otherwise sacred transaction.  In nearly every instance of wire fraud, the proceeds from a property sale or a down payment for a home purchase represent a lifetime of savings for victims, taking from them sums of enormous value. In these instances, sellers are prevented from purchasing their next property, and buyers can’t complete the purchase of their dream property.  All parties are victimized in this shameless crime.

The worst part is that Wire Fraud is completely avoidable

The Crimson Title team works to continually improve ongoing education about wire fraud by providing relevant and timely information to our teams and customers about the signs that typically accompany a wire fraud event, constantly revisiting our processes to stay ahead of wire fraudsters. In most cases, culprits intrude into an email account and assign rules to incoming and outgoing email traffic. By taking control of the conversation they can play the part of a reputable agent and make it appear as if the email is coming from the correct person in a real estate transaction. Close inspection reveals that the emails are not from a reputable source. A capable thief can have multiple email exchanges before the account owner realizes it.

The most common repeat characteristics we see in wire fraud attempts are as follows:

  • Emails or texts urgently request that funds be wired.
  • Emails or texts are poorly worded or phrased.
  • Emails or texts are offered as the only means of contact, with no phone option.
  • Wiring instructions with the receiving bank located outside of Utah.
  • Wiring instructions with an account name different from Crimson Title.

Here are things you can do to actively fight wire fraud as you engage in real estate transactions:

  • Cashier’s checks eliminate the risk of funds being stolen by wire fraud
  • Always verbally confirm wiring instructions with a Crimson Title team member, using a known, published phone number before sending funds via a wire transfer.
  • Once wiring instructions have been provided and verbally confirmed, they will not change, so any subsequent instructions received should be disregarded.

Reach out to the Crimson Title Services Team for any questions and more information.