New home purchasers can get caught up in a wire fraud scam in a mortgage transaction by cyber criminals if they aren’t careful! This type of fraud is happening more often. Some borrowers are fortunate enough to have a bank that recognizes that money is being sent to a suspicious account and the wire gets stopped. Otherwise, the mortgage borrower can lose their entire down payment on the house. Once a wire goes out to another bank it’s almost impossible to pull it back, even when there is fraud involved.
It appears that scammers are monitoring email traffic for people who look like they are in the middle of a mortgage transaction. Once they find these people, they send a phishing email from an email account that looks like it is from the title company involved in the transaction. The email will include wiring instructions for the mortgage borrower to send the funds to the scammer’s own bank account!
We have recently put the below language in our email signature in an attempt to educate people about this wire fraud scam:
“IMPORTANT NOTICE: Never trust wiring instructions sent via email as these could be from Cybercriminals and include fake wiring instructions. These emails are convincing and use similar email addresses to a settlement agent or party in the transaction. Always independently confirm wiring instructions in person or via a telephone call to a trusted and verified phone number.”
It’s important to always call the title company in a real estate transaction to obtain the wiring instructions over the phone. Otherwise, you could be scammed out of a lot of money.