The sheer amount of money changing hands when buying a home means it’s an opportunity for scammers to make a quick buck. These people are on us like sharks are to blood in the water. Banks, agents, and consumers all need to be made aware. If you haven’t heard of phishing scams, then you should make yourself aware of them. Even Bradenton real estate has had some cases of scam artists trying to trick consumers.
Sadly, there has been a rise in wiring scams as of late. Here’s how to spot wiring scams and avoid making a big mistake.
What are wiring scams?
Let’s start off by defining phishing a bit here:
Phishing is the act of pretending to be a trustworthy entity, in many cases pretending to be a representative of a company, and using that trust to get sensitive information or even money from unsuspecting customers.
A wiring scam is just one manifestation of such a scam. In these instances, fraudsters pretend to be from a mortgage company, bank or other related institution and often inform the customer that banking details have changed or other issues have arisen, and that they must now send money into a new bank account. They quickly withdraw any money that they possibly can and get out of Dodge ASAP. One tragic instance happened recently to a British couple that perfectly spells out how a traditional wiring scam works.
How do they get the information?
The way it works is that a skilled hacker gets their way into either your email or that of the company and monitors emails sent between you and your bank or broker. Once they notice money involved, they send you an email pretending to be from the institution and asking you to send money to their account. Since they don’t actually have access to the company’s logo and other credentials, they will often make a closely related logo and name. Other than that, they are tough to spot.
How to avoid wire scams
It’s important to be diligent and go with your gut. If something doesn’t sound right, then it probably isn’t. Here are a few ways to avoid being the victim of a wiring scam:
- Always request wiring instructions directly from your agent
- Always be wary of emails saying there’s been a change. Tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars are never wired on a whim
- Always check the logo and credentials of an email and check it with past emails from the company
- Be aware of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Scammers often have bad writing skills
- Make sure to double check before wiring money
Bradenton and the surrounding communities, just like the rest of the country, are not safe from dishonest scammers trying to take money from honest people. You’ve got to remain diligent and learn how to spot a fraud. Use these tips on avoiding wiring scams, and you’ll be sure to avoid becoming a victim. For more real estate tips, visit my helpful blog.