Buying a home is complicated. It requires many steps and signatures and transactions before you can get the keys and move in. It requires a lot of back and forth communication with realtors, lenders, insurers, and others. One important step is the escrow process when you make a down payment. Some prospective homeowners are receiving what appears to be updated escrow instructions by email or text, asking them to wire the money to a different bank or using an updated routing number than what they expected. Since the message appears to come from the escrow company, they follow the instructions and wire the money. But instead of going to the escrow company, it goes to a scammer.
Savvy scammers are hacking realtors’ emails to identify homebuyers getting ready to wire their down payment to the escrow company. They send you fake wiring instructions in order to get your hard-earned down payment from you. This scam has affected homebuyers across the nation with many losing tens of thousands of dollars.
Always call your escrow officer directly to confirm the instructions. If the office is nearby, you can visit the escrow officer in person as well. If your realtor is familiar with the escrow company, you can also double check the escrow’s phone number with them before you call to confirm instructions. Remember, once you wire money it is nearly impossible to get it back.
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