Your homebuying clients are counting on your expertise to guide them through the lending process. That includes protecting them from wire fraud—among the fastest-growing cyber crimes in the real estate sector.
How could it happen? Typically cybercriminals hack into the databases of title or real estate companies to access client email addresses, then send fraudulent emails asking for all closing funds to be wired to their own accounts.
It’s easy to see how clients would think they're completing their homes' purchase and transfer their money to the scammers' accounts. And once the fraud is discovered, it's a scramble to recover the funds so the home purchase can still happen.
As a lender, you have the opportunity to save the day—by cautioning your clients against these types of scams. Here are three simple tips you can share with your clients.
Pick up the phone.
Calling is still the safest method of communication. Before wiring any money, clients should call the title office directly to confirm instructions and logistics. And let clients know they should call the phone number provided by the title company directly (or published on their website)—not one given in an email.
Tell your clients in advance that any email containing new wiring information is a red flag. Title companies will rarely change instructions and payment details ahead of closing, and they would not typically communicate any critical information via email.
Confirm, confirm, confirm.
Clients should confirm (and reconfirm) both the recipient's account number and name before sending a wire. Taking this simple step—cross-checking with existing paperwork and calling to confirm—makes all the difference in avoiding fraud and keeping a home closing on track.
Educate your clients to earn their trust.
Homebuying should be one of life's happiest moments. Help keep it that way. Even seasoned homebuyers need your help to keep their finances secure.
As a lender, you can be a hero and strengthen your relationships with clients by alerting them to potential threats—and making sure they know how to avoid them.