How to Protect Yourself From Wire Fraud at Closing

The annual statistics on wire fraud and cybercrime are nothing short of alarming, and criminals continue to elude the FBI’s best attempts to apprehend them. Most of the time, there’s not a grand conspiracy at work. In fact, most hackers are more consistently successful with “social engineering” than they are at writing malicious code. Many of them can sound quite professional on the telephone, or through e-mail, and relieve their victims of thousands of dollars because they sound so trustworthy.

Cybercriminals are sophisticated, and they’re always on the move. But they’re hardly a match for people who take the right precautions. And at First National Title (FNT) we are trying to get the word out to always be diligent in all communications regarding a real estate closing. Never trust communications that change original instructions without independently verifying any changes, and be very suspicious of any last minute attempts to get you to act quickly near the consummation of your transaction. FNT is an independent company that’s not owned by a financial institution or a real estate agency, and our customers always come first. We operate 25 locations throughout The Natural State to serve you, and you’ll always get to work with an agent in or near your hometown. Here are a few easy ways to protect yourself from fraud as you prepare to close on your new home:

Have a cashier’s check in hand-Ask for a copy of your settlement statement that will be signed prior to closing, so that you will know for sure how much your cashier’s check or wire transfer should be before arriving at the closing. And verify this amount be calling a number that you know is valid to confirm the amount you will need to bring to closing. A cashier’s check drawn from a local bank is your best way to be assured of dealing with an agent face-to-face immediately in the event of any problems.

Set up a code word with title agents-You should already know that banks and financial institutions never request passwords or sensitive information over the telephone. It’s also a good idea to set up a “code word” with your closing agent to determine the validity of instructions for your closing.

Beware of last minute changes-If you get any unusual requests to change payment details right before closing, be sure to confirm these instructions whether they are received by phone or through e-mail. Be particularly concerned if the instructions get impatient or urge you to act immediately before you can independently verify.

If you have any questions about title insurance, contact us online, or at any of our 25 Arkansas locations listed below!