Stories of wire fraud, and close calls with wire fraud, are once again popping up all over the country this summer. Of course, this issue hasn’t gone away – $213 million was reported lost this way to the FBI in 2020, but one recent story caught the attention of the Transnation Title team.
This tale came from Oregon, where a woman told a news crew she was, “one click away from losing $200,000” because of a fraudulent email. What was most concerning to us was that the woman acknowledged she had strict instructions about how to wire money, and that her title company and Realtor were communicating with her every step of the way.
When the scam email came in the next morning, falsely informing her of a last-minute change to how to wire the money, she still almost did it. How close did she get? She called her closing officer from the other bank to confirm the change before realizing how close she was to becoming these fraudsters’ next victim. (Lesson: Always call us if something seems off.) This “almost” victim told the reporter, “the fake email was more believable because both the title company and the Realtor appeared to be copied on the message.”
So, what can we take away from this woman’s story:
- It doesn’t matter how many times we – our fellow real estate professionals and Transnation Title – talk about wire fraud, we can always do it again. Education is important, but so is repetition.
- It’s important to tell customers how changes will be communicated. That’s why the Transnation Title team reminds our customers to call their local office to confirm wiring instructions before sending money.
Need ways to talk to your customers about wire fraud? Transnation Title is here anytime you need us, or you can check out stopwirefraud.org. Together, we can make sure our transactions are protected so that every closing can be a celebration!