Sometimes it seems like the danger of fraud is everywhere. Those phone calls threatening to arrest you unless you send them gift cards. Phishing scams, impersonation scams, fake landing pages. It seems like there's an ever-increasing amount of bad actors out there looking to separate you from your hard-earned dollars. It can be overwhelming. And unfortunately, the real estate transaction is no different. It can go something as follows:
You're buying a home. Yay! OK so you've applied for you home and you're talking with your lender and your agent about the process and the next steps. You're doing all the things right, providing your lender with the documentation they need for their file. You're following your realtor's advice and making your way to the finish line. But one day, perhaps you're in a bit of a hurry getting ready to move, and you see an email that appears to come from your real estate agent. It says they need your bank account info to provide to the title company. You might think something about wiring funds to closing. The email certainly looks legit, it's even got your agent's signature.
This email, you'll later find out, is not from your agent at all. In fact it's from someone impersonating your agent. When you take a closer look, the email looks like your agent's email but it's not from their server. You realize that it's an email made up to look like your agent's your email address, but it's ever-so-slightly off. By the time you go to check your bank account, it's been emptied. The money may even be on its way oversees by now. Sometimes it can be recovered. Often it cannot.
Fraud exists. It's happened in Lawrence to both home buyers and home sellers. It's a brave new world out there, so we recommend that everyone stay vigilant! If you see what appears to be a suspicious email that comes from somebody you know but looks oddly suspicious, just call your agent on the phone and double check. It's worth that time to protect yourself!