WARNING: Real Estate Scams Costs Buyers BIG BUCKS
Real Estate scams are nothing new. There is however a relatively new real estate scam that is targeting home buyers preparing to purchase a home. The scam is very effective against buyers who are not aware of the scam.
This particular scam has been happening more frequently throughout the country. I am not aware of the scam happening in the FishHawk area, however, it is much better to be safe than sorry! too.
How The Scam Works
The scammers hack into real estate agents and title company emails. They keep an eye on the emails looking for keywords like a contract, closing, HUD, final walkthrough, or a number of other real estate related terms. Once they see these keywords they monitor the emails and when it looks like a real estate closing is ready to happen the scammers will email bogus wiring instructions to the buyer asking for the balance to close be sent to a fraudulent account. The reason these are so hard to detect is the emails are coming from accounts that look just like the Realtor or title company email.
This is very scary! You work hard saving for the downpayment for a new home, find your dream home, and decide to make an offer on this home. Your offer gets accepted, yay! Your agent has told you they would (I will never be sending you wiring instructions. Some other agents may) or the title company would be sending you wiring instructions for your earnest money deposit. The next day you open your email and there are the wiring instructions.
You proceed to wire $5,000 to secure your offer.
You email your agent and let them know you’ve wired the earnest money deposit. Your agent checks with the escrow company, they check with their bank but the wire has not been received.
Gulp! So you double-check the wiring instructions and sure enough, you sent the earnest money deposit per the instructions you received. Unfortunately, these were bogus instructions and the scammer is now enjoying your $5,000 with no way of getting it back.
How To Protect Yourself From This Scam
If you are preparing to buy a home, you can ensure that you don’t fall prey to this scam by doing one simple thing.
ALWAYS CONFIRM WIRING INSTRUCTIONS BY PHONE
Any time you receive wiring instructions, take the time to do the following:
- Even if there is a phone number on the wiring instructions search for the title company, law office, or real estate broker who will be holding your earnest money deposit or will be doing your closing on the internet.
- Physically call the phone number you found via your internet search.
- Let the person you called know that you would like to verify wiring instructions (they want you to do this).
- Verify the instructions.
- Once you are 100% certain these instructions are real, print them out and bring the instructions to the bank and have them wire the funds. Ensure you double-check the instructions the bank enters to what is on the instructions (mistakes do happen as well).
I know this is pretty scary but if you follow a safety-first thought process, wiring is a secure and efficient means of transferring money.
My buyers will hear this warning from me multiple times during the purchase process. If you would like to discuss this in more detail please contact me below.
Additional Ranch Real Estate Articles
- Relocating to the Tampa area? What to Look for When Searching for a Home
- Home Buyers Guide to Real Estate Etiquette
- 10 Tips to Increase Your Home Value
If you found this article beneficial, please do me a favor and share it with others. Thanks for sharing!
About The Author
The above real estate article WARNING: Real Estate Scams Costs Buyers BIG BUCKS was written and posted by Jeffrey Gould.
Jeff is a top-selling, nationally recognized REALTOR ®, real estate Broker, and your local FishHawk Ranch real estate expert. You will find him selling homes in Tampa Bay, Florida, and surrounding areas. Some of those areas include FishHawk, Lithia, Riverview, Valrico, Apollo Beach, Brandon, and Tampa.
If you are looking to sell or buy a home anywhere in the Tampa Bay area, Jeff is your local and trusted professional.
Jeff can also be reached via text or phone at (813) 421-3007.
Thinking of moving to the Tampa area? Click here for additional FishHawk Ranch information or see some FishHawk Ranch Homes For Sale.
© 2019, Jeff Gould. All rights reserved.