Criminals are targeting homebuyers and stealing huge sums of money . If you ’ re not careful , you could be tricked into sending your entire downpayment to a thief . Here ’ s how to keep your money safe .
BEWARE OF EMAILS WITH WIRING INSTRUCTIONS In the most common scam , you receive an email ( or text or voicemail ) that appears to come from a legitimate source , like the title company , your real estate agent , the mortgage lender , or the settlement officer in charge of your real estate closing . However , the fraudulent message contains instructions to wire your downpayment funds directly into the account of a cybercriminal .
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
• Be suspicious of any message with money-wiring instructions . Red flags include changes or updates to wire details you previously received . However , a first message with wiring instructions or a message to “ resend ” or “ verify ” instructions could be fraudulent as well .
• Before you send any funds , call your settlement or closing agent at a phone number you know is correct . Do not call any number from the message you received .
• After you wire funds with instructions you have independently verified , call your settlement agent to confirm the funds were received .
WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT YOU ’ VE BEEN VICTIMIZED Act quickly . The sooner you report wire fraud , the better your chances of recovering your funds .
• Contact your bank to report the fraudulent activity .
• Notify your local FBI office .
• File a complaint online at the FBI ’ s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3 . gov .
Talk with your REALTOR about ways to make sure your ® real estate transaction proceeds safely and securely .
04 n www . REWeekly . com n 11-19-2021 EL PASO , TX