If you will be wiring closing funds, it is crucial that you follow each of these steps to protect your funds from mortgage closing scams.
Computer criminals can intercept emails containing wiring instructions, including attachments, and substitute fraudulent instructions. Funds are non-recoverable. You will NEVER be asked via email to wire or send funds to ANYONE, not even to a title company. You are asked to call the title company for instructions and get verbal confirmation for incoming and outgoing wires. DO NOT COMPLY WITH EMAIL INSTRUCTIONS TO WIRE FUNDS!
- NEVER trust any wire instructions from anyone – until you verify the instructions. No matter how authentic an email, text message, phone call, letter, website, or other message seems, it can easily be a fraudulent imitation.
- DO NOT call, click or use any phone numbers, hyperlinks, email addresses, or email attachments you receive in an unverified message. These items may be incorrect or dangerous. If you receive a phone call you do not trust, politely hang up and call a number you do trust.
- ALWAYS verify your wire instructions by calling your title company/settlement agent at a trusted phone number. This should be a number you have on file or receive from a trusted source. When you call, be sure to verify any account numbers or names included in the instructions.
- ONLY obtain wire instructions from your title company/settlement agent. The lender will not send wire instructions, and if you receive them from anyone but your title company/settlement agent, it may be a sign of an attempted scam.
- STOP, think, and take your time. Be on your guard if anyone tries to push you to send money immediately or surprises you with last-minute changes. Only send your funds after you have confidently followed these steps without rushing.
- ONLY send your funds by wire transfer using validated wire instructions from your title company/settlement agent. Never send funds by ACH (automatic clearing house) bank transfer, PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, or any other payment transfer method.
- IMMEDIATELY notify your bank or wire transfer company and request a wire recall if you believe your wire was sent to the wrong recipient. Do this only by calling phone numbers you trust. Your chances of reversing a fraudulent transfer decrease the longer you wait.
Please contact your title/settlement agency with any questions on the wire transfer process, and please contact your loan officer with any mortgage-related questions.
For more information, visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s page on mortgage closing scams: www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/mortgage-closing-scams-how-protect-yourself-and-your-closing-funds