That was the average daily cybercrime theft in 2017, according to the FBI. Real estate buyers lost $969 million to wire fraud in 2017, up from $19 million in 2016.
Help your clients stay safe by warning them about wire fraud and recommending these tips:
- Be suspicious of any message with money-wiring instructions. Red flags include changes or updates to wire details you previously received. However, a first message with wiring instructions or a message to “resend” or “verify” instructions could be fraudulent as well.
- Before you send any funds, call your settlement or closing agent at a phone number you know is correct. Do not call any number from the message you received.
- After you wire funds with instructions you have independently verified, call your settlement agent to confirm the funds were received.
- If you suspect fraud, contact your bank and the FBI immediately. The sooner you take action, the better the chances of recovering funds.
The Texas REALTORS® has provided the Wire Fraud Warning form (TAR 2517) to inform parties to a real estate transaction about the risks of wire fraud and what to do if they believe they are being targeted. This form is one of 136 forms exclusively available to Texas REALTORS®. You can see them all at texasrealestate.com/realtorforms.