The latest alert is that thieves are hacking emails of buyers, title companies and realtors to send out a false claim for closing funds from the buyer in the form of a certified check.
As if closing is not stressful enough, now you have to worry about getting robbed when you don’t have cash.
How do you make sure this doesn’t happen to you?
1. Almost all title companies now require closing funds to be wired, and most do not accept certified checks any more. The reason for this has to do with the advent of the availability of digital editing software and high tech printers—scammers started forging certified checks. A wire is sent from your bank, through the Federal Reserve, to the bank of the title company. It can take anywhere from an hour to the end of the day for this money to transfer by wire, but the funds usually arrive within a couple of hours.
2. According to Florida Realtors, the scammers hack into your email, view the correspondence between you and the title company, and then attempt to email you from a fake email account that will look like the title company. Be sure to verify that the email address you receive correspondence from is the correct email address, and be suspicious of any extortion, delays or requests for private information. In the words of Jon Stewart on his closing episode of the Daily Show, “If you smell something, say something.”the
3. Whether you wire funds or send certified funds, it is best to call the title company directly that you have been dealing with and confirm the wiring or closing fund instructions. If you are allowed to take a certified check, make sure you take it with you to the closing, and turn it over as all of the documents are being signed. Double check everything.