Here’s part of a sad story we want to share to help prevent it from becoming your story, or the story of someone you care about. Please share out this story and list of tips below.
“The news came to Aaron Cole last month while he was driving a truck for the Canby machine shop where he works.
The $123,000 he had wired to buy his family’s dream home? It never arrived. The wiring instructions he received via email had been sent by cyberthieves who’d gone to great lengths to impersonate his title agent. The money had vanished, and it soon became clear it was lost forever — likely to crooks overseas.
Having sold his old house and now out the proceeds he’d planned to use for the new one, Cole was struck by the realization he would soon have nowhere for his wife and young kids to live and no money to buy another home.” Read the full story here >
In a real estate transaction in Louisiana, the title company has contact with most of the people involved and so does your agent. The people the title company will coordinate include: Appraisers, banks and mortgage companies, courthouses, heirs/competing clients, tax officials/assessors, termite inspectors, insurance agents and us – the Real Estate agent for the buyer and seller.
Real Estate Fraud Prevention Tips:
- In any major transaction, always have a list of specific contacts with email and direct lines. If you are our client, we will create that list for you. If you have any questions you can ask us and we will follow up to ensure your information and money are safe.
- Know the role each company or person plays in the transaction so if a request for information comes from someone claiming to be in their department, you’ll know you need to follow up directly with your contact.
- We will provide wiring instructions to you directly if we are going that route for funding.
- Always forward to us any email you receive regarding the wiring or transfer of funds. We will verify the validity. Send us screenshots of any texts for the same.
- Never send Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers via email. We will provide a secure, encrypted portal for you if we are doing portions or the entire transaction online.
- Never, ever click on links or attachments in unverified email.
- Lock down your bank accounts by setting up use two-step authentication. This is a bit more cumbersome but worth it. Once set up, whenever someone attempts to log in to your account, you’ll be alerted via text with a code. Do not set this up to send you an email, as someone may have already hacked into that. Also, if you have been sent an email with a link to set up 2-step verification, do not go to the link. Go directly to the website for your bank to set it up to ensure you aren’t reacting to a fake email sending you to a fake bank website. These unsavory guys are good. They can match it all the way to convince you it’s really your bank’s site. The URL at the top may be some variation of your bank’s actual URL such as, “home.loanschase.com – or something misleading like that.
- Be wary of phone calls. They may know the name of your bank and in the excitement and list of tasks for your home purchase or sale, may get you to divulge compromising information about your account and finances. Tell them you’ll call the person you usually deal with at your branch or call your agent to verify.
- Do not wire money to cover upfront fees for a loan.
- If you suspect fraud, immediately contact your bank, escrow and real estate agents. File a complaint with the FBI at www.ic3.gov as well as local police. Keep all related emails, voicemails, and texts related to this incident.