Both nationally, and with increasing frequency in Omaha, real estate professionals are reporting instances of wire fraud scams in real estate transactions. The fraud is happening in both residential and commercial real estate, with commercial real estate transactions taking on the bulk of the problem.
Typically, fraud is taking place as a result of an email account or real estate broker database being hacked. The fraudster will learn about the transaction, then send last minute, high-pressure wire transfer instructions that look real because of the details within the email and the victim trusting the source of the request. The source is often a real estate professional claiming to be working on your deal, an attorney, a lender, a title company, or even an transaction coordinator for a real estate group. Naturally, with this type of disguise, the request can appear legitimate. It is important to mitigate your risks, even if you follow just a few simple steps.
We recommend using secure email services for sending wiring instructions. If a secure system is not used, there are still ways to recognize risk traits. Alarms should sound when you see last minute changes to wire instructions, unfamiliar email addresses, or a request to send funds out of the country. If you notice these traits, or any other dubious signs, always call the parties involved with your transaction, and verify the request. For any further questions about wire fraud, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.