As the closing date for your residential real estate purchase approaches, you probably strive to anticipate and address anything that might go wrong. With your documents in order and your bank account funded, what could possibly happen to ruin all your hard work and dreams?
Unfortunately, scammers often seek to defraud those investing in a home, especially during the process of closing on real estate. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recognizes several forms of real estate and mortgage fraud.
Phishers stand ready to intercept your funds
In recent years, the FBI says a “sophisticated phishing scam” has victimized many homebuyers, leading to substantial financial losses. The scammers break into the email accounts belonging to real estate agents and professionals to monitor their correspondence with home buyers.
When these phishing scammers identify an upcoming real estate transaction, they pose as the real estate agent and send fake emails to buyers. The messages contain false details about where to wire closing funds, allowing the scammers to intercept high-dollar payments.
Protect yourself and your money
Before wiring your closing funds, verify the payment instructions and your account information with the involved party you trust the most. It is wisest to do this either on the telephone or face-to-face. You may also choose to have two trusted parties present when you send the funds to confirm that the transaction occurred.
Other mortgage and real estate scams also exist and may threaten your home and finances. We recommend that you become familiar with them to prevent victimization. Learning more about real estate transaction laws in your region can also allow you to protect yourself and your investment.