There’s no bigger scam going on right now in the real estate industry than wire fraud. Wire fraud is a scam hacker run by accessing private email exchanges between attorneys, Realtors, and clients and advising clients to wire money in a seemingly normal way. The hackers designate an account, the client doesn’t verify before sending the money and then it’s gone. There’s no way to recoup the money, it’s just gone because it was wired out of a client’s account.
As Realtors, we’re extremely proactive about this and every contract buyers and sellers sign includes a wire fraud notice attached. That doesn’t stop it from happening though so we hope spreading awareness through videos and blogs like this helps somebody not lose any amount of money, especially not a life-saving amount, to wire fraud.
Typically, what the criminals do is simply hack into an attorney’s email, take their signature, find a sales transaction email chain, and change the attorney’s email by one or two small letters. An example is [email protected], they’ll make it [email protected] or something similar that would be hard to notice. The clients are busy moving, packing, and getting ready for closing and then they get this email, it seems simple enough. It all looks official and the attorney’s email signature is on there. They go to the bank and wire the money away. Unfortunately, it’s never coming back.
Everybody doing any sort of wire transfer of funds should call, verify and double-check again before sending any money. Trust me, anybody in the real estate industry would much rather have you reach out than you become a victim of wire fraud.
If you have any questions on wire fraud, what’s going on in the real estate market, or local happenings here in NJ, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I value working with you in the past and would love nothing more than to help you, family members or friends move as well.
Plus if you know anyone looking to get into a real estate career whether full-time or part-time, reach out to me. We’re hiring at Natale Realtors!