Wire Fraud and Cyber Crime Prevention Tips!
In our digital age, it’s more important than ever to understand the topics of information security and wire transfer fraud. By understanding the risks and being on guard, you can avoid being the victim of a scam which could cost you, your client, or your business a large sum of money! Wire fraud, particularly relating to real estate transactions, is on the rise. As more and more people work remotely during COVID-19, criminals are busy posing as title companies, real estate agents, and lenders and fraudulently telling people that their down payments, earnest money deposits, and closing costs need to be wired elsewhere. We want you to be aware of Wire Fraud and Cyber Crime Prevention Tips so you can avoid becoming a victim to fake emails, texts, phishing, robocalls and harmful links.
How to Avoid Being a Victim of Wire Fraud:
- If you receive an email or text message with wiring instructions, do not reply, and do not use those wire instructions unless and until you have verified them independently using a known phone number for the party whom you are to be wiring money. WIRE INSTRUCTIONS RARELY (IF EVER) CHANGE. Any “change in wire instructions” should be assumed to be fraudulent.
- If you receive a phone call with wire instructions, tell the caller you are going to hang up and call the business (using a known or independently verified phone number) to verify the information
- To make sure you have received a legitimate wire request, call a validated phone number you have used before to contact the party. DO NOT use a number listed in the email or message sent to you or call any number that texted you. There could be a fraudster on the other end of that call ready to continue the deception and trick you into diverting funds into their account.
- After calling a trusted number, talk to the person who sent the email or text or who made the call, and verify that the instructions are correct as written.
- Ask that your bank confirm the name on the account and verify that it matches the party whom you intend to send funds. Ask that they look for any red flags in the instructions before wiring the funds.
If You Become a Victim:
- Contact your bank or money transfer company immediately and request a recall notice of the wire sent
- Contact your local FBI office and the police
- File a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center: bec.ic3.gov
- Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission: FTC.gov/complaint
Heritage Title Will Always Do Our Part to Ensure that Wire Fraud Does Not Happen to You:
- Heritage Title Company will ALWAYS Send Wire Instructions by encrypted email only.
- We will never call, email, or text message you with an unsolicited request to wire money.
- Our Wire Instructions DO NOT CHANGE, so please consider any communication portending to change them as fraudulent and invalid.
- ALWAYS Call your closing team to confirm the Wire Instructions sent before wiring your funds.
- Wire your funds as soon as possible to avoid funding delays and advise your Closing Team to be on the lookout for the funds so we can confirm receipt.
Cyber Crime Prevention Tips:
- Change your passwords often
- Use strong passwords utilizing a mix of lower-case, upper-case, numbers, and symbols
- Do not use common words that are easy to guess as passwords
- Do not use the same password for multiple sites
- Do not open emails from unrecognized accounts
- Do not click on links from parties you don’t recognize
- Do not open attachments in emails that you do not recognize – call the party and independently verify that they sent the email and the contents of the attachment they sent
- Never give out your personal information via email or online
- Do not connect online with people you do not know and never share personal information with someone you don’t know