Protect Your Real Estate Funds


Melissa Forte-Litscher, RealtorBy Melissa Forte-Litscher, NextHome

Let’s face it, buying a home can be stressful. We know that dealing with the finances, the house hunting, the contract negotiations and, finally, the packing and moving can be a lot of pressure. Imagine how devastated you would be if you did all of that and then your funds were stolen. Then, you are not only out the money, but the house too!

The recent 2024 State of Wire Fraud Report by CertifID found approximately 1 in 20 Americans who bought or sold a home within the past three years has been victimized by some sort of real estate fraud and half of those were wire fraud issues. The importance of protecting your financial assets during the home buying process is essential. One significant threat that we all must be vigilant about is wire fraud. Let’s look at how it works and what steps you can take to avoid it.

Wire fraud in real estate transactions occurs when cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities in our communication channels to deceive buyers into wiring funds to fraudulent accounts. Typically, these scammers strike during the final stages of a transaction when large sums of money are being transferred electronically. They often gain access to email accounts or intercept communication between parties, impersonating legitimate individuals involved in the transaction.

To protect yourself from falling victim to wire fraud, there are several precautions you can take. First, establish secure communication channels. We can use encrypted email systems or secure messaging platforms to exchange sensitive information. Additionally, it’s essential to verify the identity of all parties involved before initiating any wire transfers. This can be done through direct phone calls or face-to-face meetings to confirm transaction details and wiring instructions.

Also, be cautious with your online activity. Avoid clicking on suspicious links or attachments in emails, and regularly update your passwords to strengthen the security of your email accounts. Implementing multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of protection against unauthorized access.

Furthermore, it’s crucial to work with reputable professionals throughout the transaction process. From real estate agents to title companies and financial institutions, choose partners who have robust protocols in place to detect and prevent wire fraud. Together, we can ensure that your assets are safeguarded against potential threats.

Take the time to carefully review all documentation related to the transaction, including purchase agreements and closing statements. Any discrepancies or inconsistencies should be addressed immediately to prevent fraudulent activity. Consider alternative payment methods, such as cashier’s checks or electronic funds transfers directly from your bank account, to minimize the risk of funds being diverted to fraudulent accounts.

By taking these proactive measures and staying informed about potential threats, you can protect yourself against wire fraud and enjoy a smooth and secure home buying experience. As your realtor, my priority is to ensure a smooth and secure transaction process for you. Let’s work together to make your dream home a reality while safeguarding your financial assets. As always, I’m at your service.