Steps to Avoid Mortgage Wire Fraud

Take precautions early in the mortgage process that might help you avoid becoming a victim of mortgage wire fraud.

Here are six steps to follow:

    1. Gather names and numbers from day one. When you sign a purchase contract, the phone numbers and email addresses for the seller, real estate agents and the title company or attorney should be listed on the agreement. Keep this contact page handy to compare to emails and calls from certain phone numbers you receive before closing.
    2. Confirm wiring instructions with a phone call. Legitimate wiring instructions that you receive in writing or via email should come with an escrow account number, the physical address of the property you’re buying and routing information for a local bank. Always call someone at the title company first to confirm wiring instructions before you wire funds.
    3. Don’t reply or refer to emails for wiring. Don’t click on any links, or reply to or call phone numbers in an email to confirm wiring instructions. Use the contact information gathered at the onset of the process to re-verify the information.
    4. Be suspicious of incoming calls. If you’re being asked for any personal financial information on the phone, ask for a name, title and phone number to call back. Then check the number against the data you collected when you signed the contract.
    5. Call your lender as a backup. A quick call to your loan processor or loan officer, who works closely with the escrow agent, provides an extra level of protection.
    6. Verify that your money was received. Call your title company to confirm receipt of funds the same day that you wire them.