How to Arm Yourself Against the Ever-Growing Issue of Wire Fraud

Wire fraud in real estate is a fast-growing crime that is becoming more and more common every year. In 2017 alone, there was a reported $56 million in losses and 9,600 victims just from wire fraud in real estate deals. Here at Setco, we are dedicated to protecting our clients from wire fraud and any other cyber threats. We like to keep our clients aware of cyber crimes so that they can take the proper steps to protect themselves against these vicious crimes such as wire fraud.

The most common type of fraud in real estate deals is the Business Email Compromise (BEC)/Email Account Compromise (EAC). According to the American Land Title Association, in real estate deals, the person committing the fraud will pose as the title or agent in charge of the sale. The fraudster will use the title or agents email to appear authentic. They then email the client with instructions to wire the money to the fraudsters bank account, while posing as the title or agent. 


There have been efforts coordinated by the authorities to try to stop wire fraud from happening. Just recently, on June 11, 2018, an operation called WireWire was started, which resulted in 74 arrests and approximately $14 million recovered from fraudulent wire transfers. This operation was a great start to combatting wire fraud, but there is still a long way to go.

Some precautions can be taken to keep yourself protected from wire fraud. One precaution to take is to call a verified phone number from the sender to ensure that the email address and sender are both authentic. The next step is to make potential home buyers aware of these schemes. If clients are mindful of the possibility to wire fraud, they will be on the lookout for any major red flags in potential emails. The biggest thing to look for is an email from the fraudster impersonating the agent. Often it will be the same email that they hacked into or one closely resembling the agent's email. The phone number included in the email is always the most important and easiest way to know if an email is for real. If the phone number involved goes back to the real estate company, you know it is real. If the number included goes to an unverified company, you will see that it is someone attempting wire fraud.

At Setco, our client's protection is our top priority. Making sure our staff are aware of the signs of wire fraud, ensures that our clients will also be mindful of these signs. Education is the easiest way to protect against these cyber crimes and be sure our clients have the best experience possible with buying a home. 

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