We have all heard of those email frauds about a Nigerian prince ready to give away millions if only you will help him cash one check, right? We would never be victims of something so ridiculous! However, a new email fraud is on the rise and it is costing Americans millions: Wire Transfer Fraud. Unfortunately, the targeted population is people buying a home. At Cornerstone Financial we are very glad to say our clients have not been victims of wire transfer fraud, but we did just have a case where a client was targeted. Unfortunately, the scam was very convincing, so we want to warn you and arm you with the knowledge to ensure you don’t become a victim.
Often in a home buying purchase, the buyers will transfer money via wire to their closing attorney or a financial services firm, like Cornerstone Capital. This transaction is usually at the end of the process and fairly close to your closing date, typically 2-3 days ahead of closing. The amount of money transferred will vary due to financing, the amount the buyers want to put down on the house and closing costs, but in most cases it is a very substantial sum. The scam will usually begin when someone posing as a person from your law firm or lender will send you an email regarding instructions for your upcoming wire transfer. They will often have the same email signature as the company they are trying to represent, the logos from that company and a similar email address. We have also seen where multiple fake email addresses are created in order to represent multiple businesses and people at those businesses, all of whom you may know by name, hence how the scam is so convincing. Depending on the quality of the scan, they may even have copies of your closing documents attached to convince you they are legitimate. If you fall victim to this scan and send your funds via the wire transfer instructions provided by the scammers, your money will essentially disappear. Of course local law enforcement and even the FBI will attempt to assist you, but in most cases they are not able to get your money back, at least in time to still purchase your home. This fraud can have a devastating effect on good people, ready to embark on a new chapter, only instead they see their savings and dreams taken right from under them.
So, how do you spot this fraud and report these scammers? If you know what to look for, you will not be a victim.
As always, if you are worried about wire transfer fraud or any aspect of the home buying purchase, give us a call at Cornerstone Capital Financial Services, we are very happy to help and answer your questions.