Recently, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau published a fraud alert for wire transfers of earnest money, down payments, closing costs and loan payoffs.
Here’s how you can avoid a wire-transfer scam:
1. Never follow wire-transfer instructions sent via email. Verify the closing instructions, including the account name and number, with your trusted representatives either in person or by using a predetermined phone number. Similarly, never email financial information.
2. Pay attention to email addresses related to the transaction. A legitimate address like email@example.com could be confused with a spoofed email like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
3. Keep computer security patches and antivirus software up to date. Change your password every 90 days and enable two-step authentication on your email account.
4. Suspect a scam? Contact the bank immediately and request a wire recall. To recover large, international wire transfers, ask the bank to contact the local FBI office and request a Financial Fraud Kill Chain.