Boston Real Estate for Sale

Boston condo buyers: Exercise extreme caution

Exercise extreme caution when dealing with wired funds in a Boston condo for sale transaction. Wire fraud is very much alive and well, and I’ve been hearing unfortunate stories from my colleagues recounting big money losses due to fraud activity.

When you’re buying or selling a Boston condo for sale, you’re dealing with a Boston condo broker or lawyer/ escrow company that holds transaction funds in a neutral account. Buyer and sellers make use of wired funds. Buyers wire deposits into an escrow account, as well as the balance of their down payment a couple days before the escrow closes. And sellers provide wiring instructions to the title company so the latter can wire the sale proceeds. Boston downtown condo prices being what they are, the sums of money are usually large.

Boston condo email scams

I’ve been hearing tales of Boston condo buyers receiving emails–allegedly from their escrow officers–instructing them to disregard previous wiring information and requesting that buyers instead wire funds to a new account. That’s a huge red flag, but you may not pick up on it if you’ve never been involved with a purchase.

And hackers are great at creating emails that look exactly like the messages a buyer has been receiving from an escrow company. Hackers can intercept email chains and your funds may ended up in a fraudulent account. That’s a lot of money to lose.

Here are basic tips for handling wired funds in a Boston condo for sale transaction:

– Get phone and account numbers directly from escrow officers,brokers or lawyers at the beginning of the transaction, preferably over the phone.
– Don’t wire money without calling the recipient team first, and use that phone number you got at the beginning of the sale, even if you receive an email that looks legit.
– Confirm the bank routing number, account numbers and other codes before transferring funds.
– Avoid emailing personal info like social security numbers

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