Stay in the know.
Closing a mortgage is an exciting time. It brings you one step closer to moving into your new home! Unfortunately, wire fraud and mortgage closing scams are on the rise. Always be sure of where and how you are sending your money. Mortgage Options, Inc. helps by setting you up with companies we have trusted and worked with for years. Our experts are always prepared to answer questions. Let us help you get your mortgage the safe way.
What are wire fraud and mortgage closing scams?
You receive an email that appears to be from your real estate agent or settlement agent (title company, escrow officer, or attorney). It tells you that there has been a last minute change in the closing process, for example, that a check is no longer acceptable or that the wiring instructions have changed. It instructs you to wire or otherwise electronically transmit the closing funds to an account that the scammers control. This is called email phishing. They are playing on your desire to be done with the closing process in a quick and easy way. They will steal your closing funds like your down payment and closing costs, leaving you out of pocket and without your loan closed. Wire fraud refers to a person attempting to get you to send them money by assuming a false identity. You may recall the emails we all used to get from the Prince of Nigeria wanting you to send him $10,000? These are those guys, and they’ve graduated to better, more believable schemes.
What is Mortgage Options, Inc. doing to prevent this?
Mortgage Options, Inc. keeps up-to-speed on the latest phishing scams, educating our team and warning our customers to help keep everyone safe. Our experts help match clients with reliable loaning institutions. These are companies we have worked with before and know you can trust. This personal relationship between companies and with our customers makes a fake message easy to spot. We will always communicate with you through official channels, with experts available for you to call should you ever receive something out of the ordinary or suspicious. Be smart about your investment, protect your money, wire payments only to known, trusted, verified sources.
What can I do to not get scammed?
Using common sense and caution can often help you avoid these nasty situations. Here are some tips to help you escape the scammers.
- Talk to your Mortgage Options, Inc. Loan Officer about the process. There is a standard closing process for mortgages that must be followed and wire transfers will always look a certain way and be sent to a certain place. Any offer you receive that is a shortcut to this process or gives you different instructions is probably fraud. Call your broker to verify. Do not reply to the email or call any of the numbers listed in it.
- Know what a phishing email looks like. Some red flags of scam emails are: unfamiliar or misspelled email addresses (ex:yahao.com, gmaol.com), they are overly enthusiastic with big graphics and offering “deals”, they do not contain correct company logos, signatures or disclaimer information, they want you to click into another site or download a strange attachment, wire information is slightly different from what you were originally instructed. Any of these warning signs warrant a call to your lender.
- Ask Questions. When in doubt, just ask. Call a trusted number and ask about the email. Call Mortgage Options, Inc. and ask if the wire information seems legitimate.
- Don’t email financial information. Call, transfer or even mail funds. A lender will never email you to ask for your account information. They should already have it on file and they know this is not a professional way to gather information.
- Confirm that payment has been received. If you or another entity involved in the closing suspect a problem, report it to law enforcement and your bank as soon as possible to increase your likelihood of recovering the money.
Choose Mortgage Options, Inc. as your mortgage lender. We work with companies who have been vetted by our professional staff. Your loan officer will help you find the best loan for your situation and keep you informed of any changes or issues, meaning less chance of fraud and more chance of you getting your mortgage without issues. Give us a call today at 803.732.5787.