When transferring a large amount of money, it is important to be diligent. Many online criminals specialize in defrauding wire transfers, targeting real estate transactions due to the high amount of money exchanging hands. Here are a few things Alberta buyers can do to protect themselves from this growing threat.
According to the FBI, the most common type of fraud related to real estate transactions was email accounts compromise. In this type of attack, an online criminal will assume the identity of the person handling the sale, sending the buyer an email with fraudulent wire instructions. One way to protect from it is to verify email requests by calling a verified phone number. This phone number should be independently verified and not just calling the number on the email as this could be faked as well.
Real estate and mortgage professionals are struggling to stay ahead of this growing criminal trend. One way they can help protect clients and buyers is by educating them on the possibility of a scam and clarifying that wire transfer information will not be changed via email. Taking steps to prevent email addresses being hacked into, including increased email security and careful web behaviour, are also important.
Alberta real estate professionals should update their security practices regularly to stay on top of these growing threats. For their part, buyers should keep aware of the possibility of fraudulent emails that appear to be from credible individuals and always independently verify wire transfer information. Legal support can also help to protect either party to create sound and well-documented real estate transactions.