During the process of buying or selling a home, it takes plenty of people surrounding our customers to protect their best interests and their money. Realtors, loan officers and title companies are all on the same team. By now, we’re all aware of the dangers wire fraud and cybercriminals continue to pose for our customers and their transactions, but we must continue to alert our buyers and sellers about them.
It’s important to start these conversations early on in the process. Realtors, that’s why we need you in particular to keep up the fight. No matter how much we talk about the issue, there are plenty of stories out there about new victims. These scams are expensive. In 2020, there was more than $213 million reported lost, according to the FBI. Even the Secret Service has issued warnings on this topic.
We recognize your valiant efforts to stay ahead of the criminals who are scheming daily to upend customers during such an important life event, but the mission must continue. Clueing buyers and sellers in on what to look for concerning wire fraud is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
- Beware of inbox overload. Most scammers count on your customers being swayed by eye-catching subject lines in their email. If it sounds too good to be true or seems bogus, it probably is. Encourage your customers to ask first, and click later.
- Last minute isn’t in it. Remind your customers that last-minute wiring changes by email near closing time won’t be the norm. If there are needed changes, let them know that you will contact them personally...but not through an unsolicited email.
- Questions? Reassure your customers that you are ready and willing to answer any questions they may have. Tell them to call you or us directly if they have any suspicions. Maintaining open lines of communication may mean the difference between frustrations and congratulations.
Getting real about wire fraud—and the very real threat of it affecting any transaction—can seem scary, but it’s well worth it for the safety and security of our customers.