The High Risks of Wire Fraud

Reblogger Jim Cheney
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Saint Francis Property Santa Rosa, CA 01368633

I really like this blog by Karen Crowson posted in October of last year.  I'm re-blogging because it did not seem to get much attention yet it is SO important.  Recently I got an email with the words: "Re: your escrow" in the subject line.  I did not even open it because I had no escrows currently open.  Fraud is everywhere and I know each and every one of us would hate to subject out clients to losing any funds.  Not only do I give my clients the Wire Fraud disclosure but I talk about it numerous times during the transaction, reminding them to never respond to requests for funds or personal info over the web. Please join me in continuing to spread this word of warning.  

Original content by Karen Crowson BRE#01732313

Let’s Take a Step Back

FraudsterBy now, most of us have heard a first-hand story about an instance where a buyer or seller has been a victim of fraud during a real estate transaction.

The scams are merciless, with fraudsters hacking into emails of real estate agents, title and escrow companies, even inspectors or other related businesses that might give them access to transaction events and timelines. They then pose as an industry professional, gain sensitive financial information and empty the bank accounts of unknowing victims.

During your transaction there are several times where your personal, confidential information is required.

  • At the time of your earnest money deposit (buyer)
  • When providing a statement of information (both buyer and seller)
  • When your down-payment is required (buyer)
  • When you are conveying where your sale proceeds are be sent (seller)

Yes, wire transfers can be somewhat more convenient but the chaos that results if fraud occurs is monumental. Steps have been taken to inform/warn the public of these predatory risks, such as wire fraud advisories.

Taking these extra precautions will help protect your finances and give you peace of mind. Read how:

1. Most brokerages will require you to sign advisories about wire fraud at the onset when you enter into a purchase or sale agreement. READ IT! If you receive it electronically, don’t just click and sign. Ask your agent to explain it if you don’t understand it.

2. Your agent should provide you with the contact name and information for your escrow officer, as well as your escrow number. Convey any confidential information to that person directly, either on the phone or in person. Do not send electronic communications to convey sensitive information.

3. Do not click on any links regarding wire transfer instructions from escrow companies, even if they appear to be legitimate. Escrow companies are not sending wire transfer information electronically, but scammers are sending messages that appear to be legit to hijack the data.

4. If escrow calls you needing personal and confidential information, don’t provide that information to the caller. It may legitimately be your escrow officer. But, to know for sure, hang up, call back in to the number you were provided at the start of the transaction and ask for your escrow officer by name. Take control and protect your sensitive financial information.

5. Even better, go to the escrow company in person if practical. These extra precautionary steps are certainly worth the time invested, to protect your VERY large monetary investment.

Karen Crowson on Zillow

Tri Valley real estate for buyers and sellers. Search for homes in Livermore, Pleasanton, and Dublin.

I can also help you in the surrounding areas of Alameda County and Contra Costa County

including Castro Valley, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, San Ramon, Danville, Brentwood and Mountain House

Facebook Icon     Linked In Icon      Blog Icon     Twitter Icon




Posted by

Jim Cheney, Broker

"Your Realtor in Rincon Valley"

Wine Country Real Estate

Santa Rosa, Sonoma County


Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Good post to reblog and share with all of us.  We recently had to seen 2 wires to Europe.  Our banker took extra time to verify that the instructions were sent properly and authenticated the other banks numbers.  On the 2nd one, it was iffy as far as he was concerned.  We are waiting for correct wiring instructions. A

Jan 25, 2018 12:00 PM
John Pusa
Glendale, CA

Jim Cheney great detailed report about high risk of wire fraud.

Jan 25, 2018 12:08 PM
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

Hello Jim Cheney this was a great choice for a reblog.  Amazing how many have been caught up in wire fraud scams...those nasty thieves just keep coming up with ways to hurt the general public.

Jan 26, 2018 07:20 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Oh, absolutely wonderful tips, Jim and a great choice for a re-blog! We are seeing that here in Charlotte as well and now I have clients who will notify me, "Okay, wire has been sent - and YES, I called the attorney's office and verified the instructions first!" Sadly, you have to instill fear in them to protect them!

Jan 28, 2018 06:33 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Jim

This is an excellent post to share. The issue of wire fraud seems to be growing and growing and the more we educate ourselves and our clients the better.


Jan 28, 2018 08:18 AM


Oct 20, 2019 09:19 AM


Oct 20, 2019 09:19 AM


Oct 26, 2019 11:53 AM


Oct 26, 2019 11:53 AM


Nov 14, 2019 11:48 AM


Nov 14, 2019 11:48 AM


Jan 08, 2020 01:00 PM


Jan 08, 2020 01:00 PM