Quick Wire Fraud Facts
- Real estate wire fraud is increasingly common. Unfortunately, it seems to be a dirty little secret of the industry and I have to say, we are doing LITTLE to NOTHING to protect or inform consumers.
- Your situation will be unique. Every real estate wire fraud situation is different based on the amount lost, time lapsed until it was reported, whose email was compromised leading to the scam, and what state you live in.
- You need to speak to a lawyer. In Texas, where this happened to me, a lawyer does not need to be present during close. The terrible thing about wire fraud is that it often crosses state, and even national lines and your local laws will mean your outcome may differ than mine. Every state is an annoyingly unique snowflake when it comes to fraud.
- You will likely encounter a lot of incompetence. You may experience everyone "trying to protect themselves" and not cooperating, or giving you the runaround.
For as often as this happened to other people, I still cannot believe how many hours I spent on the phone, receiving conflicting information from the several involved parties. Veiled incompetence is essentially a tactic used to confuse you and protect an entity from saying anything incriminating. You may encounter it a lot.
- Your friends and family will sometimes say things out of ignorance because they too, are in shock. People will ask "why" and "how," and it will be very frustrating as they don't understand and you're feeling defensive, when really, it wasn't your fault.
- Our systems serve HACKERS not consumers. Our current way of doing business does not sufficiently protect consumers. Additionally, procedures and protections for consumers vary from state to state, and often your friends and family who just bought a house who weren't defrauded were simply LUCKY. Really.
The truth of the matter is this - it shouldn't be up to consumers to ask their real estate agent, title company and mortgage broker to disclose how secure their systems are or state the last time they were hacked. It would be akin to going into a restaurant and having to look at the kitchen every single time you ate. Do you do that? No, you assume it's safe, otherwise, the state would have shut down an unsafe facility.
Unfortunately, that is NOT the case for the real estate industry. Maybe it will change, but right now, most companies are struggling to secure their email sufficiently and they TRULY are rarely taking the next step to inform consumers of the problem and what to look out for to protect themselves. Most companies fail on both fronts, at our expense.
For more helpful information, take a look at my Stolen Down Payment? Here's What To Do First page.