Authorities Warn Of Uptick In Fraudulent Wire Transfer Scams

June 17, 2022

Authorities are warning consumers and financial institutions about an uptick in wire fraud scams with regard to real estate transactions. These email compromise scams involve the closing process of new homes, making them rather lucrative for the hackers performing them. Depending on where the home is located, the dollar figures can sometimes go well into the six figures.

Generally, these will involve an email with a spoofed sender address claiming there are last minute changes to the account for wiring closing funds. The sender is supposedly the real estate agent or closing agent and instructs buyers to wire those funds to a “new” account, which is not surprisingly that of a scammer. Not only are the funds disappearing and nearly impossible to recover, but often the scammers are also acquiring other types of personal information from the transaction.

When doing important financial transactions, always confirm details for wiring funds or providing sensitive information. Verify by phone call if you get something emailed to you last minute, as this is not normal. Usually the bank accounts are established well in advance, so any changes should be viewed as suspicious.

If there is a phone number in the email itself, don’t use that one. These scammers (as well as others who perform scams) put in fake phone numbers in hopes the recipients will call it. However, it just goes back to the scammers. Get phone numbers from other sources such as your agent’s, escrow company’s, or financial institution’s’ official website.

The FBI has said that somewhere around $5 billion has been lost due to fraudulent wire transfers such as these.

Stickley on Security