There’s a new danger in Silicon Valley home buying: phishing emails with bad instructions on where to wire in funds for escrow. Home buyers now usually wire in their initial or good faith deposit and also normally wire in the balance of the downpayment a few days prior to the close of escrow. Bringing in the funds by a cashier’s check is also an option.
Somehow, the bad guys have at times gotten ahold of sensitive information and have sent fraudulant wiring instructions to home buyers. Similarly, wire fraud has been attempted and directed at real estate professionals.
Please be very careful with all email, but especially anything involving money. Do not click on attachments if you are not positive who’s sent it to you. Sometimes the sender’s email address looks almost right but a closer view will reveal it’s not – mouse over it and double check! Before wiring funds to title, CALL the branch and ask the escrow officer or assistant for specific wire instructions. Keep them, as you will need them again at the end of the transaction.
Exercize caution with your paperwork and shred sensitive items when you no longer need them.
When in doubt about the authenticity or safety of something, call the title company (the number on the preliminary title report, not a number in an email) and double check everything. And remember, you can always get a cashier’s check from your banking institution and walk it in.