With wire fraud cases on the rise across the country, Florida title insurance agents work with realtors, escrow and closing agents to make home sellers and buyers aware of these fraudulent schemes. Although wire transfer fraud doesn’t occur in every real estate transaction, many people are left without money and even without the dream of owning a home.
Nowadays, hackers are able to impersonate Florida title insurance companies and real estate agents without raising any suspicions. However, there are a few measures you can take to avoid falling victim to wire transfer schemes.
- Determine the communication method with the Florida Title Insurance Company. It’s very important to establish how you’ll communicate with the title agent from day one. After the agent sends you the wiring instructions, don’t save them in your computer.Also, don’t open any emails or attachments that look suspicious and don’t click on any links included, as they may contain malicious software or otherwise be harmful to your computer. Before performing any wire transfer payments from your computer, make sure your firewall is switched on and the antivirus program guarding your system is up to date.
- Look out for red flags. Although a phishing email that contains wiring instructions might appear to come from a Florida title insurance company, financial institution or other legitimate business, the email address is different from the one initially provided.Another possible warning sign of fraud is when the email includes last-minute changes that require the buyer to transfer the funds to a different account as soon as possible.As well, some spoofed email messages include swift codes, which are particularly used for international wire transfers. Thus, a swift code could mean that the funds would be transferred offshore to a foreign bank account.
- Verify information. Once you receive the wiring instructions from the Florida title insurance company that also maintains your escrow account, double check all the details, including the email address and phone number. In addition, contact the company by calling the number on their website to verbally authenticate the information.To be on the safe side, don’t wire the money if you can’t confirm the transaction details with the title agent. Before initiating the transfer, you can also request account holder verification from the bank. If you’ve authorized someone else to make the transfer on your behalf, make sure that he or she confirms the details with you before transferring the funds.
- Confirm the transfer. As soon as you receive confirmation from the bank that the transfer has been initiated, contact your title agent to confirm the funds have been sent. The Florida Title Insurance company should confirm with you as soon as it receives the wire.
If at some point you realize that your email has been hacked into, change your password right away and inform the Florida title insurance company, realtor, lender and anyone else involved in the transaction. If you’ve already transferred the funds, acting quickly might give the bank enough time to suspend the transaction before the scammers get your cash. Additionally, you can report fraudulent activity to the FBI, police and local REALTOR association.
Whether you’re one of our customers or intend to use our services in the future, you can rest assured knowing that Guardian Title & Trust Inc. isn’t only compliant with ALTA Best Practices but has also implemented all the measures necessary to ensure that everyone’s sensitive information is well protected from any curious eyes lurking in the shadows of the Internet.