Hackers went after nearly $1 billion of home buyers’ down payments in 2017, a huge increase from 2016. Sadly, it’s extremely difficult to recover money that is diverted in this way, so buyers are usually left holding an empty bag. The good news is that there are some very simple steps you can take to keep your down payment safe from wire fraud. The video below explains them.
- Only accept wire instructions from the closing agency in person or via encrypted email.
- Always VERIFY wire instructions by calling the closing agency directly.
- Make sure you speak with a human when you call. Never accept confirmation via email, text or voicemail.
- Do not verify by calling a number on the wire instructions, because if the wire instructions are fraudulent then phone number on the instructions will be fraudulent as well. Call a number that you know for sure is for the closing agency.
- Beware of any change to wiring instructions, especially if it’s last minute. Closing agencies very rarely change their wiring information.
Please share this information with anyone you know who is buying a home and likely to wire money soon. It’s easy to prevent wire fraud, but once someone becomes a victim it’s extremely difficult for them to recover their money.