When I first got into this business (I’m dating myself), wiring instructions were a no nonsense, non sexy part of transactions. Buyers would either bring a cashier’s check or wire their funds from a bank for a closing.
And, this is generally still the practice. But, Buyer Beware. This past year has seen an explosion of wire fraud in the real estate industry. A number of smart and practical safety measures have been implemented to protect consumers.
Secure Wiring Instructions
The new normal is for a credit union or your bank to use a secure email platform when sending bank wire instructions. Or to keep it old school and hand off the instructions in person or over the phone with someone known to all parties.
Why? What changed? Most notably, schemers and scammers have found ways to infiltrate real estate financial transactions.
Social Media And Wire Fraud
It’s no surprise to hear social media in the news for misuse. With so much information easily available on social media channels, some scammers have started watching for opportunities to interrupt transactions.
One scam involves phishing for access to email of one or more parties to a transaction. And then watching for the wiring instructions and making a last minute change.
To protect consumers, secure emails from title firms and mortgage bankers with wiring instructions prevents most fraud.
There are horror stories out there. Most recently, a home buyer in Oregon wired his funds out of the country. Be Aware!
Disclose Disclose Disclose
Boulder Realtors have also added disclosures to the documentation of transactions, warning clients to be extra vigilant.
Client’s banks and financial institutions are also implementing better procedures. And it isn’t merely to protect from wiring fraud.
Its Not Just Wiring Instructions Either
While personal checks have never been considered good funds at the closing table, more and more title companies are reluctant to accept even a cashier’s check. Why?
Smart phones can upload checks directly to bank accounts. Another scam out there allows a cashier’s check to be compromised before the title company has time to deposit it.
Thus title firms generally require checks be delivered a few days early when allowed at all in transactions.
Informed and Forewarned Makes For A Safe Boulder Real Estate Transaction
Being well informed is a big part of keeping safe. We all know the importance of wearing seat belts, waiting several minutes to swim after eating (this was The Rule when I was a kid) generally keeping safe.
Knowing the risks of a transaction keeps home buyers and sellers safe as well. When in doubt, contact your Realtor, banking institution and title company directly by phone or in person.
Ready To Learn More About Boulder Real Estate
Give me a call, I’m here to help you navigate the home buying and house selling process. Whether you are a first time home buyer or this is your next transaction of many, I have great systems in place to assist you. Contact me now!