By: Christel Silver Special to the Boca and Delray newspapers
Mail and Wire Fraud is a crime when you use email or electronic communications media to defraud, regardless of success.
Why am I writing about this? A Realtor® friend just witnessed a terrible experience. In a closing for a $450,000 cash transaction, the title agent told the buyer that they did not receive their funds and they could not close. The buyer established with the confirmation number that the funds had been wired on time, just to find out that the email with instructions for the wire from the title company had been hacked and was sent to a similar email with instructions to a fraudulent account number.
The seller may have lost some money and the inconvenience of marketing the house again. But the buyer just lost $450,000. Can he recover the money? Maybe. I do not want you to get scammed for $1000 or $450,000. So be aware and be cautious.
The Realtor® should advise each client not to wire funds before verifying the information personally via a phone call with the recipient. The Florida Association of Realtors® added an addendum of wire fraud warning. If you are a Realtor®, please make use of it each time your client needs to wire funds in a transaction. (WFPN-1)
There are some measures from the government to reimburse lost money caused by a scammer. So, if you did lose money through a scam, immediately report it to the FBI.
You can find more information on FTC website. (https://www.ftc.gov/)
If you use the ATM machine, you have to have a code to succeed with your transaction. If I transfer funds from my Credit Union account online, they send me a code via text, voice mail, or email, which I have to enter to validate the transfer.
A validation and authentication should be added before a wire is sent. The digital technology has brought us many consumer benefits, but unfortunately it also increased fraud.
Educate yourself and protect yourself. There are insurance companies who can protect you, for a fee, but you can also use personal caution to prevent a disaster.
About Christel Silver
Christel Silver is a full time Broker/Owner of Silver International Realty servicing the East Coast of South Florida. In 1985 she was licensed in Maryland and Washington DC as a Realtor and later as a Certified Residential Appraiser and Associate Broker and has been in Florida since 2001. The National Association of Realtor’s (NAR) President appointed her (2010-2014) and again for 2018 as the President’s Liaison to Germany, where she grew up and worked at the Justice Department for 17 years prior to coming to this country. The Germany Real Estate Organization (IVD) has an agreement with the NAR and she is an International member of this organization. Christel is a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS), and a certified speaker teaching CIPS classes. Ms. Silver served the Florida Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) Chapter as President, as Regional Vice President helping Chapters to grow, and as a member of the Board of Directors for two years. She served previously as an ambassador. Fifty percent of her business is in the International arena. For more information visit www.silverhouses.com.