Title companies and law firms are prime targets for scammers and fraudsters. As a busy title company, we send dozens of wires each week. We have best-in-class security measures in place, and can usually recognize even the most elaborate scams and phishing attempts.
We always try to educate our clients and referral partners on best practices to minimize risk.
For a minute, think about the closing process from the buyer’s point of view. As a buyer, you’re excited as closing day finally arrives. There are tons of emails being circulated between title, lenders, realtors, insurance agents, moving companies - a lot of information from a lot of different people - and everything seems to be needed “ASAP.”
Then, in the midst of this whirlwind, you get an official-looking email saying it’s time to wire your final cash to close. The email can often look very real and as if it is coming from the person or company you’ve been communicating with for some time. It may even include documents with your name and address. The company’s bank account information looks legit. So, you send the wire as you’ve been instructed to do. Then, PROBLEM, the wire didn’t arrive at the title company.
This is an all-too-common horror story. A 2021 survey showed that 1 in 3 mortgage transactions attract at least one attempt at fraud and the average fraud victim loses $100,000.
At Butler Title, we intentionally do not include our full account number on our wire instructions. We instruct all our buyers to call our office to verbally confirm the last four numbers of the account number before wiring any funds, as this allows us to ensure they have accurate, up-to-date wire instructions. And when sending wires, we always call the recipient beforehand to verify their account information.
Ultimately, the most effective anti-fraud security comes in the form of attentiveness and knowledge. Not just one conversation about wire fraud, but several. In fact, it’s never too early in the home buying process for realtors to start the conversation about this danger.
With so much money at stake, we have to educate and protect our buyers as much as we can.
If you have any questions, we are always here to help. Feel free to contact us at any time.
Butler Title is a full-service, attorney owned and operated title insurance agency. We keep it simple and focus on what we do best: real estate closings. From first-time buyers to local moguls, BT provides an industry-leading fee structure and unparalleled experience.
300 S. Pine Island Rd., Suite 110,
P: 954.616.8735 F: 954.206.1097