Wire Fraud...it's happening everywhere. There are numerous news stories that you can find online of where someone who is buying a house has lost everything because of one email.
Many times a day, we receive emails or phone calls all requesting our wiring instructions. Just as many times a day, we have to tell them that we cannot do so. We do understand your frustration but we wanted to give you some explanation as to why.
The good funds law was passed on July 1, 2009 that requires all funds that are deposited into an escrow account that are over $10,000 to be wired. Lender funds, a large downpayment, cash sales - all of it has be wired into our accounts.
Unfortunately, the bad guys have also learned of this law that was created to protect consumers and everyone involved in a real estate transaction. People have been hacking into the emails of individuals, real estate professionals and lenders and changing those wiring instructions to their own accounts.
When this happens, the emails look legitimate and that they are coming from your realtor or the title company and they tell you there has been a change and to just make sure your wire is sent using the new instructions that they have attached. Now the unsuspecting person who has done absolutely nothing wrong has just lost their life savings by relying on those instructions.
Some companies will still send those instructions through encrypted emails but those can be compromised as well so in order to protect you, we have made the decision to not email those instructions to anyone.
We will not send them to your realtor, to your lender or directly to you by email. We will fax them to you or to your bank when you are there to send the wire, you can pick them up at our office or we are more than happy to read them to you over the phone.
It's not normal for a title company to just change their instructions in the middle of a transaction. We recommend that you ALWAYS call us to confirm that the wiring instructions that you have are correct. Do not call a number that is in your email or one that came from another source to confirm those instructions. Find the number yourself and verify that the number is correct.
It may be a little more work for all involved but it's worth it to make sure that you are protected and not a victim of wire fraud!