It’s a Scam

It’s a Scam

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It’s a ScamBack in October of 2016, we wrote about a rental scam in Ft. Wayne: There is a scam that keeps surfacing in our area, and it’s something you need to know about. A recent ad on Craigslist listed a property on Crescent Avenue for rent. The person claiming to be the owner supposedly lived in New York and said the keys would be provided once he received a deposit.” It’s a scam:

Unfortunately, a rental scam in Ft Wayne is too common. How do you protect yourself from such scams?

  1. Don’t pay the first and last in cash. If you write a check, you might have an opportunity to stop payment on the check.
  2. The rental agent may say they are out of town and want you to wire money.
  3. They say they’re out of the country. But they have a plan to get the keys into your hands. It might involve a lawyer or an “agent” working on their behalf. Some scammers even create fake keys. Don’t send money to them overseas. If you can’t meet in person, see the apartment, or sign a lease before you pay, keep looking.
  4. Look for spelling errors. Emails from scammers are often littered with grammatical mistakes and typos. If the email is difficult to read, lengthy, or includes a sad story, then it’s possibly a scam.
  5. Zillow advises, Look for requests for personal or financial information. Do not provide your bank account number or Social Security Number to unknown sources. First, verify it is a trusted source and then only provide this information sparingly.

It’s a Scam. Now there’s a new scam around the country including Ft Wayne.

It is a mortgage closing scam that starts with an email from a hacker disguising him/herself as the home buyer’s lender, title company or realtor. The hacker spends weeks watching the closing process unfold, gathering information, and waiting for the perfect moment to jump in, typically in the final stages of the process. In this time-sensitive and stressful period, the hacker will reach out with new last-minute details of where to wire funds.

According to WANE, Steve Kiermaier knows firsthand about the scam. Kiermaier and his fiance at the time began house-hunting in March 2017. The two found their dream home in June and were prepared to put a $31,000 down payment on it.

“I have been saving that money since college,” said Kiermaier, who was a first-time home buyer. “I wanted to put 20 percent down on my house and be ahead of the game.”

By law, consumers are required to wire down payments of more than $10,000 to the title company. if it is more than $10,000 dollars. Sklenar said the Indiana Good Funds Law was implemented to protect the titling company from receiving bad checks at closing.

Kiermaier said his realtor advised him via text message that he would soon receive wiring instructions for his down payment. He confirmed that the text was legitimate.

He then received an e-mail from what appeared to be his realtor’s e-mail address later that day, so thinking it was legit, Kiermaier followed the instructions.

A week later, he learned the title company never received the funds.

<h3It’s a Scam. So, what are the red flags you need to look out for?

  1. Misspelled name or email address. Hackers will use a near-identical name and email address of your lender, title company or realtor, but with a variation so minor it can be easily missed. Make sure to pay close attention to check your email correspondences.
  2. Last minute changes in payment instructions. If the title company does send new instructions, confirm the new wire transfer instructions with them directly, in person.

The mortgage closing process can be demanding with many moving parts, but paying close attention to the details every step of the way will ultimately lead to a successful close of your new home. If you have a question, call your realtor immediately before wiring money or call us. We’ve worked with a lot of rental agents and are familiar with the neighborhoods.

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