Is Wire Fraud Declining?

We have all heard the saying “don’t believe everything you hear” right? I have been talking to clients, lenders, and Realtors® a lot about Wire Fraud and Scams. Someone tells me they have heard that there is a decline in fraud risk. They saw a story about it on a title insurance company’s newsletter or something.

I don’t believe it. No way. Not after all the horror stories I have heard. So I did a little investigating. Turns out the decline in fraud they read about dealt with buyer misrepresentation on loan applications going down because of relief from “seller’s market” and declining interest rates.

So my point to clients, lenders, and Realtors®: DON’T LET YOUR GUARD DOWN!

  • Do not share wiring instructions via unsecured email.
  • Don’t use the words “wiring instructions” as an email subject if you are emailing them the phone number to call.
  • Have your buyer or seller contact the closing attorney’s office directly to get wiring instructions.
  • Give them the phone number to call.
  • Hand-delivered wiring instructions are the safest form of delivery.

Three important tips for buyers and sellers:

  1. Pursuant to NC State Bar rules the words “TRUST ACCOUNT” should be in the account name. So if you’re instructed to wire funds to account entitled “Attorney John Doe,” look into this using a phone number given to you outside of the instructions you just received.
  2. If you are buying a home in North Carolina, be suspicious if the wiring instructions you receive direct you to wire funds to a bank in New York.
  3. Probably the most important tip: you called to confirm before sending the wire, now call AFTER sending the wire to confirm receipt. It may take just a little while, but if 4 hours after your bank says the wire has been sent, if your attorney can not confirm receipt, call your bank immediately. The quicker fraud is discovered the easier it is to get funds back or stop it altogether.

Stay Vigilant!

Published by Susan Benoit on July 8, 2019.