Wire Fraud is becoming a common real estate scam in GA.
Wire Fraud is a growing problem in the real estate industry and has become a common real estate scam that seems to be happening more and more.
Email Compromise/ Email Spoofing
Just recently one of our Closing Attorneys attended a continuing legal education class where one of the presenters was a Special Agent with the FBI. According to his presentation, scams related to “business email compromise” were up 2,370% from January of 2015 to December of 2016. That is a huge increase.
Business email compromise fraud comes in a variety of emails. Sometimes the fraudsters can hack a user’s computer and send out fraudulent emails directly from their account. Other times the fraudsters will “spoof” a user’s email. This process is done by creating an email account that closely resembles the user’s account. For example, if a user’s account is email@example.com, the fraudster will create an email of firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, monitor the actual Jon Doe’s email account and then send a fraudulent email from the “spoofed” email account.
Recently at The Cowan Connection Team, we experienced “email spoofing” on one of our Listing transactions. Luckily, with the high detail of our Listing Coordinator, our Client who had been prepped by our Listing Coordinator to double check wire instructions, and the Closing Attorney we were able to avoid a $70,000 wire fraud disaster!
Hear from Jennifer Cowan and Melissa Gilbert on How The Cowan Connection Team Avoided a Wire Fraud Disaster!
Fraudulent Wiring Instructions
In our business, the fraudulent emails are most frequently revised and fraudulent wiring instructions are sent. In other businesses, the emails are frequently requests to wire funds that appear to be from a business manager. In any case, if they trick the would-be victim, the victim could send the funds to the fraudsters in error.
Always check with your real estate agent and the closing attorney to confirm you have the correct wiring instructions before wiring any funds.
Closing Attorneys will not send revised wired instructions
Prior to closing on a real estate transaction, you will be given wire instructions from the Closing Attorney. Your real estate agent and lender should also receive a copy of them as well. Before closing, your real estate agent should be contacting you to make sure you have the correct wire instructions for closing.
At The Cowan Connection Team we pride ourselves in our systems. Our system have been developed of the years to deliver a 5 Star Client experience for our clients. The Cowan Connection Team along with our Closing Attorney partners like to educate our clients on these perils and make sure they know that our firm will not send revised wiring instructions by email and that they should always look up any company that is asking them to wire funds and independently verify their phone number then call to verify the wiring instructions.
How to Report If You Have Been a Victim of Wire Fraud: Common Real Estate Scams In GA.
If you or your clients receive anything you think might be a wire scam, please feel free to contact The Cowan Connection Team office right away! You can also point your clients to the FBI site for reporting Internet Crime: www.ic3.gov.
If you are looking to Buy a home or Sell a home in Cobb County GA or Metro Atlanta, please contact The Cowan Connection Team at 678-631-1758. Tim Cowan, Jennifer Cowan, and the entire Cowan Connection. Team would love to guide you through the process!