The Internet Crime Complaint Center announced that within 2016, title companies reported the number of wire fraud scams increased 480%. As Orlando closing agents, that statistic is very concerning. We want to ensure that our customers are protected when conducting wire transfers, so we have compiled some information and tips to help consumers prevent themselves from becoming victims to a wire fraud scam.

There are two major types of scams that are causing issues. The first is a business email compromise (BEC). Businesses that perform wire transfers are the main target of this scam. The other is the email account compromise (EAC) which targets consumers that perform wire transfer payments.

For the scam to work, hackers gain access to the email of the party who is getting paid in the transaction. They follow the progress of the transaction, and once it is underway, they communicate with the victim via a fraudulent email that appears similar to the original. They ask for a different form of payment, a wire transfer instead of a check, or they ask for the wire transfer to be sent to a different account.

There are a number of ways that you can protect yourself from wire fraud:

  • Make sure the second party you are working with is aware of the threat of wire fraud, and ensure they follow best practices like double authentication.
  • When you receive payment instructions, call to confirm that they are correct. This is especially true if there are any changes in the wiring instructions.
  • Keep an eye out for fraudulent emails. Hackers can simply change one letter, and at first glance, the email will appear to be correct.
  • Protect your accounts. Use strong passwords or double authentication, and make sure that any anti-virus software you are using is up to date.

If you fear you’ve been a victim of wire fraud, there are some important actions to take:

  • Contact your financial institution, and request they contact the other financial institution where your transfer was sent.
  • Contact the FBI. They may be able to help recover the funds. Collect details of the fraud before you call such as all information related to the originating account and the beneficiary account.

Wire transfer fraud is on the rise, and consumers and businesses need to protect themselves. When completing a real estate transaction, surround yourself with the most trustworthy and well-informed team possible. The trusted Orlando closing agents at Real Estate Closing Solutions would make an excellent addition. Contact us today to partner with the best and to gain peace of mind in your transaction.