Three tips to protect you from fraud at closing

A lot of money changes hands each time a property is sold, and plenty of criminals are interested in intercepting that money along the way. A new home or investment property is the biggest and most important investment that most people make in their lives, and you can’t afford to leave anything to chance with so much at stake. Almost a quarter of a million consumers fall prey to phishing scams and wire fraud yearly, but criminals are no match for vigilant consumers who take the proper precautions!

First National Title (FNT) is Arkansas’ largest independent title company, and we’re not owned by a financial institution or a real estate agency. We operate 26 convenient Arkansas locations, and you’ll always get to work directly with an agent in or near your community. We’re here to help you enjoy a smooth closing, and we’ll do everything we can to make sure that the sale is consummated on schedule. Once we’ve determined that the property title is free from encumbrances, and the real estate closing has taken place, we’ll issue you a title insurance policy to protect your investment for as long as you own your home. However, in preparing for the real estate closing, where the money changes hands, here are three tips to protect you from wire fraud:

Confirm the identity of all service personnel-You’ll have to work with numerous service personnel and professionals as you prepare for closing, and it’s a good idea to set up a “code word” in the event that these people involved in the closing need to contact you for additional information.

Pay your down payment with a cashier’s check-Many online lenders offer great terms, but what happens if they don’t send the wire transfer on time? Your settlement statement, and your trusted and verified lender, or trusted and verified real estate closing agent will tell you the exact amount you’ll need to pay at closing, and a cashier’s check drawn from a local bank is an excellent way to avoid unexpected delays.

Beware of last-minute changes-Most phishing scams involve official-looking emails that direct you to change something that may have already been communicated to you (e.g. wire transfer instructions). If you’re contacted at the last minute, speak to a trusted agent and confirm his or her identity with your designated code word before taking action.

If you have any questions about title insurance, contact us online or at any of our 26 convenient Arkansas locations listed below!