If you are buying a home in Tampa Bay, please watch the video below ( put together by Florida Realtors® general counsel, Margy Grant) as wire fraud is on the rise. These sophisticated hackers watch your emails over time and strike right before you close on your new home. They also, in some instances, hack into the account of your Realtor®, lender, attorney or closing agent and email you false wiring instructions. The whole time, you are under the impression it is a legitimate email. We must all be vigilant.
Please ALWAYS confirm wire instructions by a phone call to the title company or attorney handling the closing.
Our trade association has also created a Wire Fraud Prevention Notice that your NextHome Discovery sales associate will provide to you early on in the home buying process to ensure you keep your sensitive data secure and are aware of this increasing problem when it comes time to wire funds at your closing. We want the purchase of your new home to be a pleasant, safe and happy experience – this is just one precaution we are taking to ensure all is secure as you purchase your #NextHome!
Below is an excerpt from the Wire Fraud Prevention Notice and a copy of the form can be found by clicking here: Wire Fraud Prevention Notice.
Never trust wiring instructions via email
Criminals/hackers are targeting email accounts of various parties involved in real estate transactions (e.g., lawyers, title
agents, mortgage brokers, real estate agents). These emails are convincing and sophisticated. Among other concerns,
this has led to fraudulent wiring instructions being used to divert funds to the criminal’s bank account. These emails may
look like legitimate emails from the proper party. If you receive an email regarding instructions that contains any
suspicious information, do not click on any links that may be in the email and do not reply.
Broker strongly recommends that Buyer, Seller, and their respective attorneys and others working on a transaction, refrain
from placing any sensitive personal and financial information in an email, directly or through an email attachment. When
there is a need to share Social Security numbers, bank accounts, credit card numbers, wiring instructions or similar
sensitive information, Broker strongly recommends using more secure means, such as providing the information in
person, over the phone, or through secure mail or package services, whenever possible. In addition, before Buyer or
Seller wires any funds to any party (including Buyer or Seller’s attorney, title agent, mortgage broker, or real
estate broker) personally call them to confirm the information is legitimate (i.e., confirm the ABA routing number
or SWIFT code and credit account number). Buyer and Seller should call them at a number that is independently
obtained (e.g., from this Contract, the recipient’s website, etc.) and not use the number in the email in order to be sure
that the contact is a legitimate party.
Below is the video featuring Florida Realtors® general counsel, Margy Grant: