Realtors, real estate brokers, closing attorneys, buyers, and sellers are all targets for wire fraud and many have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars because they simply relied on the wire instructions they received via email.
A fraudster will hack into a participant’s email account to obtain information about upcoming real estate transactions.
After monitoring the account to determine the likely timing of a closing, the fraudster will send an email to the buyer purporting to be the escrow agent of another party to the transaction. The fraudulent email will contain new wiring instructions or routing information and will request that the buyer send funds to a fraudulent account.
We are urging everyone to INQUIRE BEFORE YOU WIRE and to never rely solely on email communication.
Rob Cannon of Fidelity National Title Group is one of our trusted vendors. He offers two valuable steps to protect you from falling victim to these schemes:
STEP ONE: Obtain the phone number of your real estate broker, realtor, closing attorney (if applicable) and your escrow officer as soon as an escrow is opened. Complete the information below and keep this page in your escrow folder.
STEP TWO: Prior to wiring, call the phone number you wrote down from step #1 above to speak directly with your escrow officer to confirm wire instructions. If you receive a change in wiring instructions supposedly from your escrow officer, be suspicious as your wiring instructions are rarely changed.
When in doubt, always call your title agency or escrow officer.
For more information about Fidelity National Title Group, reach out to Rob Cannon at Rob.Cannon@fnf.com.