According to the FBI, 11,300 people were victims of wire fraud in 2018.
Criminals sometimes create email addresses that look almost exactly like the addresses of the real estate professionals you’ve been working with. They may replace the letter “o” with a zero and hope that you won’t notice, for example.
Or they may hack into the email account of another real estate or title company administrator, find out when your real estate closing is scheduled and send you an email with bank wiring instructions to his/her account.
But there are ways to keep from becoming their latest victim:
Be vigilant and suspicious. Verify with your Realtor, by phone or even in person, any wiring instructions you receive by email.
Don’t call phone numbers or click links that arrive by email. Do your own research and find the number or web address independently.
As soon as you’ve made the transfer, verify with the title company that your funds were received.
But what if you’ve already wired the money and you think you’ve sent it to criminals?
Notify your bank right away and request that they recall your wire funds.
Contact your regional FBI office, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (https://www.ic3.gov/) and your local police department.