Inside LADA

July 10, 2020: Homebuyers Scammed During Escrow Process

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Purchasing a home is an exciting time, but homebuyers should be on guard so their down payments and closing costs don’t end up in a criminal’s account.

In the Homebuyer Scam, criminals identify potential victims by hacking into the computers of homebuyers, real estate agents and escrow companies. Their goal is to get details of a home purchase that is underway. 

A fake email is sent to the homebuyer by someone impersonating the real estate agent or escrow company. The email instructs the buyer to wire the down payment and closing costs to the criminal’s bank account.

TIPS:

  • Learn about the closing process from your real estate and escrow company agents and ask for verified phone numbers and email addresses.
  • Personally verify bank account details for wire transfers with your trusted agents.
  • Be suspicious of any deviation from previously discussed closing steps, especially bank account changes.
  • If you are victimized, immediately request that your bank reverse the wire transfer, notify your local police agency and file a complaint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation at www.IC3.gov 

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