Closing on a new home? Protect yourself from seller impersonation fraud with these three easy steps!

It seems nowadays it is possible to purchase everything online, from household goods to a family home! But if a real estate listing sounds too good to be true, it likely is! Cybercriminals are now posting bogus listings for properties they don’t actually own, but they’re no match for buyers with a little common sense and “street smarts.” Our team at First National Title (FNT) is also here to help you protect your property investment with title insurance products from trusted underwriters!

We’re Arkansas’ largest independent title company with 25 locations to serve you throughout The Natural State. You can always count on the personal touch as an FNT client, and you’ll always be able to work directly with an agent in or near your community. Here are a few easy steps you can take to protect yourself from seller impersonation fraud:

“Let the Buyer Beware”– If a property seems drastically underpriced compared to comparable listings in the area, it could be because the person or entity representing themself as the “seller” doesn’t actually own the property and is only interested in scamming you out of your money and disappearing.

Confirm the seller’s identity-Before you make an offer, be sure to perform a reverse phone number search to ensure that the number matches the seller’s name and address; you might also send an introductory letter to the property address and the mailing address for the tax bill. If the seller can’t physically attend the closing, be sure to work with FNT to make sure the transaction is not fraudulent.

Don’t be victimized by social engineering-Most cybercriminals aren’t expert hackers or forgers, but they can sound very convincing on the phone. If the seller seems in a rush to close or wants to change wiring instructions for proceeds to a new bank at the last minute, double-check with known sources before making any changes. Banks and financial institutions will never contact you through phone or email to make last-minute changes, and it’s a good idea to set up a “code word” with your lender in advance to confirm identities before exchanging personal or financial information.

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