There is a new type of fraud hitting the real estate world. If you have not closed on a home in a few years you may be surprised at some of the rules technology has made us do. Now because people can take a picture of a check and deposit it to their bank account title companies will not accept large checks. The check amount varies from title company to title company. Some will only allow a check under $10,000, some $15,000, some $25,000. You title company will let you know. Again why they do not allow big checks is because a few bad people deposited the check they gave to the title company. That check was no good, but the title company did not find that out until later. The title company had to sue to get their money. That is why title companies only want checks made out to them and only up to a certain amount.
The second type of fraud is for buyers who wire money to the title company. Let’s say you were supposed to bring $35,000 to the closing table. You have to wire it because it is over the amount a title company allows. What is happening now days is that criminals are hacking realtors emails and then sending a second set of fraudulent wire instructions on where to wire the money. Your money ends up in a criminal’s account. So read below and protect yourself.
IMPORTANT REMINDER TO OUR CLIENTS AND CUSTOMERS
While we all appreciate the convenience of transacting business via email, it is very
important to remain diligent when doing so.
Unfortunately, the following scenario is not only a real life scenario, but it has occurred
on a number of occasions in Michigan alone:
Cash buyer receives closing documents and wiring instructions via email from
her buyer’s agent. Soon thereafter, the same closing documents and different
wiring instructions are received from the same agent. The buyer wires funds in
accordance with the second set of wiring instructions only to find that the second
email was fraudulent and DID NOT come from her agent. Of course, by the time
this is discovered, the money is long gone.
IMPORTANT RULES TO KEEP IN MIND:
1. If you receive an email containing Wire Transfer Instructions, regardless of who the
sender appears to be DO NOT RESPOND TO THE EMAIL! Instead call the Title
Company and/or Lender immediately, using previously known contact information
and NOT information provided in the email, to verify the Wire Transfer
instructions prior to sending funds.
2. Be suspicious of anyone who suggests that funds should be wired days prior to the
3. Beware of last minute instructions, particularly if those instructions contradict earlier
4. Be suspicious of anyone who indicates that they are not available to take telephone calls
and can only be reached via text and/or email.
5. Never transfer confidential information over free Wi-Fi.
6. Never trust contact information in unverified emails.
7. When replying to emails, use “Forward” and the addresses from your own address book
rather than “Reply” or “Reply All”.
8. Review all emails carefully. Remember that a fake email can appear to be from someone
you have been corresponding with regularly. Often (but not always) these types of fake
emails can be spotted on the basis of style, tone, grammar and/or awkward sentence
structure. Trust your instincts. If a message looks at all suspicious, follow up with a
phone call and check it out. It only takes a few minutes
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