Here's a recent story on how Wire Fraud is alive In DFW!!
It's too close to home!
We are in the last quarter of this year and along with all the fun that comes with the end of the year and Christmas comes an increase in hacking and fraud. Seems like the crooks want an end-of-the-year bonus, right?! You hear about wire fraud and hacking all the time. Radio and televisions commercials consistently issue warnings! And now I find myself saying it too … Be Aware.
This hit VERY close to me this month. Clients of mine were all set to close on their home in Rockwall. Two days before we were to close they receive an email stating the lender is ready for the buyers to wire the money for closing. So my client prepares to wire the money per the email’s wire instructions, but he has a couple of questions he wants to ask his lender, Quicken Loans. He contacts the Lender and then finds out that … they never sent him any wire instructions! Turns out someone was hacked along the way: Quicken Loans, the Title Company or my client. We don’t know exactly who. For now, Quicken Loans and the Title Company have turned this over to their fraud divisions.
Meanwhile, my client is instructed by the Title Company to not wire funds for this transaction. Instead, we are to bring a certified check to closing.
The Title Company explains to me that wire fraud is a huge problem and even more so around the holidays. So, be cautious wiring any funds in this process. Buyers are receiving emails that look legit and they are sending in the money. That money disappears––or will be tied up for a long period––as everyone tries to find out who was hacked, which party is responsible. I am not advising never to wire money. But do take the time to personally talk to the people involved before you wire anything. In this case, my client had personally talked to the lender at Quicken Loans many times before. They had done a great job explaining the loan process to him and, because he had a few more questions, he called the lender again. That call saved him.
FYI: Your lender will not ask you to wire them funds for closing. The Title Company disburses all the funds. Any money needed to close will be sent to the Title Company. The Title Company will then send the funds out. The Title Company does not ask for you to wire money before you go into sign paperwork. If you receive an email asking for a wire before, that is a RED FLAG!! Call your Title Company, call your REALTOR (me). Be cautious about letters and emails about this process. I know we are in a fast-paced world but stopping to test the legitimacy of these communications will save you heartache and money in the long run. This extra question saved my client. Be aware!
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