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  • Writer's pictureLisa Campion

Protecting Your Real Estate Transactions: Essential Tips to Prevent Wire Fraud

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Understanding and Preventing Wire Fraud in Real Estate Transactions

In today's digital age, wire fraud poses a significant threat to financial security, especially in real estate transactions. With an increasing number of buyers and sellers falling victim to this type of fraud, it is crucial to understand the risks and learn how to protect yourself. This blog post explores common methods of wire fraud in real estate, provides examples, and offers tips on safeguarding your financial transactions.

The Growing Threat of Wire Fraud in Real Estate

According to CertifID, 1 in 20 Americans who bought or sold a house in the last three years have been victims of some type of real estate fraud. In 2023, the FBI IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center) received 880,418 complaints, marking a 10% increase from 2022. These statistics highlight the alarming growth of wire fraud and underscore the need for increased vigilance.

Wire Fraud infographic from

Common Methods of Wire Fraud in Real Estate

Wire fraudsters employ various tactics to deceive their victims in real estate transactions:

  1. PhishingEmails:Criminalsoftensendemailsthatappeartobefromlegitimate real estate agents, lawyers, or financial institutions. These emails may contain links to fake websites designed to capture your login credentials or request sensitive information such as account numbers and passwords.

  2. BusinessEmailCompromise(BEC):Inthesescams,fraudstershackintothe email accounts of real estate professionals or clients. They then use these accounts to send fraudulent payment instructions, diverting funds to fraudulent accounts.

  3. Spoofing:Thisinvolvesmanipulatingtheemailaddressorphonenumberto make it appear as if the communication is coming from a trusted source. For example, a scammer might make their email address look almost identical to that of your real estate agent, with only minor changes that are easy to overlook.

Protecting Yourself from Wire Fraud in Real Estate

Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself and your financial transactions from wire fraud:

  1. VerifyBeforeYouTrust:Alwaysverifytheauthenticityofanyrequestforawire transfer or sensitive information. Use a known and trusted contact method to confirm the request, such as calling your real estate agent or attorney directly.

  2. BeWaryofUnsolicitedCommunications:Becautiousofunsolicitedemails, phone calls, or messages requesting sensitive information or urgent action. Fraudsters often create a sense of urgency to pressure you into making a hasty decision.

  3. UseSecureCommunicationChannels:Whensendingorreceivingsensitive information, use encrypted email services or secure messaging platforms. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks for financial transactions.

  4. ImplementMulti-FactorAuthentication(MFA):EnableMFAonyouremailand financial accounts whenever possible. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring two or more forms of verification before accessing your accounts.

  5. MonitorAccountsRegularly:Regularlyreviewyourbankandfinancialaccounts for any suspicious activity. Early detection can help prevent significant losses.

Wire fraud is a growing threat in real estate transactions that requires vigilance and proactive measures to mitigate. By understanding common fraud tactics and implementing robust security practices, you can protect your financial transactions and reduce the risk of falling victim to these schemes. If you have any concerns or need assistance with safeguarding your real estate dealings, do not hesitate to contact our staff for expert legal advice and support.

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