The real estate industry is a huge target for wire transfer scams. It’s up to you to protect yourself and your clients, but how? What are wire transfer scams? How do you know if you are a victim? What should you do if it happens to you? Read below to find out more…
A Little Info About These Scams
These scams normally come from groups operating out of Ghana, Nigeria and other African nations. Individuals in these groups try to connect with potential victims through email and even on social dating sites in order to foster a relationship. The groups, as a whole, send out millions of emails constantly, waiting for someone to click on it. They are smart, creating believable stories about why they need bank account information and convincing the victim in the relationship that by divulging this information and partaking in this deal, they will be helping them out greatly.
How to Recognize One
Some scam attempts are obvious, but others can be unsuspecting. If you have an online friend who has started nonchalantly asking personal questions about your financial status, it might be a scam. If you received an email from an address you don’t recognize, it might be a scam, but if you’re not sure, read the content of the emails. Many scam emails will have funky wording, some phrases won’t make sense or words will be misspelled.
Other scam emails can contain content about you needing to make a payment for a medical account or they want you to review your recent payment. If you haven’t made any payments recently or the email address isn’t the same as your health account portal, delete it and don’t click on any prompted links. Lastly, never download any file from an unknown address.
How to Protect Yourself Against Them
- Block IP addresses from nations listed above
- Avoid using web-based email accounts (they are easier to hack)
- Be careful what you put on social media (job functions, salary, hierarchical information, etc.)
- Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know
- Don’t disclose personal information to people you don’t know
- Be wary of any requests for secrecy or pressure to act quickly
What to Do If You Suspect Something
- Immediately call your bank and talk to the person who has authority to recall a wire transfer
- Tell your bank that you want them to fully cooperate with the police
- You have to state this as the bank cannot help the FBI without your consent
- Report the incident to the FBI at ic3.gov
- Provide as many details as you can about the beneficiary; account number, contact information, names, etc.
- Contact the closest FBI field office
- For an international wire transfer, they can try to create a Financial Kill Chain