Home buyers: beware of wire fraud

Did you Know?

A local family was recently scammed out their $122,850 down payment they thought they wired to their title company. This was just days before they were set to move from the house, they sold to a new home they purchased. Aaron Cole and his family were looking at being homeless days before the holidays. Thanks to the local news media and their title company they have the money they need to move into their new home.

In 2017, $675 million was lost to wire fraud

And it was expected to be over $1 billion in 2018. Scammers are targeting real estate transactions due to high dollar amounts involved and digital transaction systems. In the past, escrow companies were targeted and victims had days to catch the criminals. Today they are going after buyers and sellers that have less protection. Using phishing schemes to spoof e-mail address or other information, they use this to mislead victims into wiring money that often once sent is out of the country in seconds.

What can you do?

First never rely on e-mail only, call your Realtor® or the title company to verify any instructions especially if they have been changed.  Use wire transfer only if other options are not available such as using a Cashier’s Check from your bank. Take time to carefully review any instructions you have with your title officer or your Realtor®.  If you have to use a wire transfer, call the title company or your Realtor® to confirm the instructions first before sending the money.  Protect yourself from being a victim of a terrible scam.

By Dave Hiller, Broker: For more info, contact me at 503-729-8797 or visit homepdxrealestate.com.