If you were to ask a room full real estate professionals if any of their clients were victims of wire fraud during a real estate transaction, chances are there would be many who might raise their hands. In fact, according to an article published by Realtor Mag, “The Threat of Wire Fraud is Real”, “Wire fraud topped the list as a sophisticated scam causing consumers to lose millions of dollars each year”. As alarming as that idea may be, real estate professionals can put some simple safe guards in place to help protect their clients.
In the article, written by Erica Christoffer and Graham Wood, a number of suggestions are touched upon. For example, “If you or your agents do engage in a wire transfer with a client, call them on the phone immediately prior to the transfer of funds so they know they’re sending money to the legitimate source.” Additionally, make your clients aware that you do no discuss personal financial information over e-mail and review with them what your communication practices are. Hopefully, with this mutual understanding between you and your client, if they receive questionable e-mails, a red flag will be raised immediately before any sensitive financial information is shared.
Clients should also be reminded to not only use strong passwords, but update them regularly. Perhaps even updating a password just before any wire instructions are sent. As a real estate professional, you should also follow these guidelines for strong and updated passwords.
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