Criminals begin the wire fraud process long before the attempted theft occurs. Most often, they begin with a technique called “phishing”. It can be in the form of emails, website forms or phone calls to fraudulently obtain private information. Criminals trick users into inputting their information or clicking a link that allows hackers to steal login and password information.
Once hackers gain access to an email account, they monitor emails to find someone in the process of buying a home. Criminals use the stolen information to send fraudulent wire transfer instructions disguised to come from a professional you’re working with, including real estate agents, title companies, attorneys or consumers. If you receive an email with wiring instructions, do not respond. Email is not a secure way to send financial information. If you take the bait, your money could be gone in minutes.
Five tips to protect you against wire fraud: