According to this article on azcentral.com, a first-time homebuyer in Phoenix Arizona lost his $73,000 down payment thanks to an email hack just a week before closing. And according to the FBI, fake real-estate emails cost victims worldwide more than $5.3 billion from 2013-2016, with no sign of slowing down. Here’s how you can protect yourself and your hard-earned downpayment:
Tips to avoid wire fraud in mortgage transactions
- Obtain the name and number of the escrow officer at the beginning of the transaction and do not use any other method of contact.
- Do not ever wire funds before calling your escrow officer to confirm wire instructions.
- Verbally confirm wiring instructions are legitimate and verbally confirm bank routing and account numbers.
- Avoid sending personal information in emails and texts. Provide such information in person or over the phone.
- Protect the computer system you are using with strong passwords and secure Wi-Fi.
- Immediately notify your bank, escrow officer and real-estate agent about suspicious emails.
If you have any questions, please let us know.