The process of home buying can be exciting, and when you’ve found a place that seems perfect for your family and your budget, it’s tempting to secure the home purchase as soon as possible.
But before you send that downpayment, make sure you’re sending it to the right party. The Texas Association of Realtors (TAR) has reported incidents of scammers stealing down payments from home buyers by sending fraudulent emails. Here’s what to watch for…
Emails from unverified sources – Scam emails often appear to come from a legitimate source, such as your real estate agent or mortgage company. In the scam emails seen by TAR, the victim’s down payment money ends up in the account of a cybercriminal.
Emails with wiring instructions – Be suspicious of any email that contains wiring instructions, even if appears to be authentic. Especially suspect are emails that claim to have “updates” to wire instructions you have already received. Also watch for messages that ask you to “resend” or “verify” your wire details on down payment money.
Before you send any funds over the internet, call your settlement or closing agent at a phone number you know is theirs – do not use any number provided in the suspicious email. And after you’ve sent your payment, call your agent to be sure the funds were received.
No one wants to think that they could be the victim of such a costly crime, but it does happen. If you think you’ve been scammed, the key is to act quickly:
- Contact your bank and tell them about the fraudulent activity
- Notify your local FBI office
- File a complaint online at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center
Talk to Monnie about ways to make sure your real estate purchase is safe and secure – 325.365.6404.