As technology continues to grow at an unprecedented pace, internet hackers have found more and more opportunities to target unsuspecting victims. While it’s important to stay vigilant to ensure you don’t fall for these schemes, knowing how to report wire fraud is essential if you ever fall victim to a scam.
What is Wire Fraud?
Wire fraud has quickly become one of the biggest tools used by scammers to steal money, thanks to the accessibility modern technology provides. In a wire fraud scheme, criminals target individuals and businesses through phone calls, emails, text messages, and even social media posts in order to trick victims into giving the scammer money or revealing private data. This can include confidential items such as passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, and even bank account information.
Preventing Wire Fraud
Learning to spot potential scams before they occur is the most effective form of wire fraud prevention, but there are other tools you can use if you suspect you may be the target of fraud:
Before initiating a transfer, verify the identity and location of the person you’re talking to in order to ensure they are who they say they are. In some cases, scammers disguise their identities through fake accounts that closely resemble real ones, or may be using accounts obtained from past victims.
Not all wire fraud scams target random people, and criminals may attempt to insert themselves into the middle of dealings to redirect funds. Be sure to communicate with all involved parties of a wire transfer to ensure funds are sent and received through proper channels.
Many programs have been created with the sole purpose of wire fraud prevention in mind. These may include email services, firewalls, and other technology that keep transfers safe and secure.
Common Wire Fraud Elements
While there are a wide variety of methods fraudsters might use, there are a few common elements of wire fraud scams to look out for:
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of giveaways, contests, or promotions that you did not sign up for. In many cases, scammers promise money and other prizes to victims in exchange for private information such as credit card or bank account information.
Scammers may pose as part of a utility company, debt collection agency, or law enforcement and threaten some sort of repercussion if you do not comply with their demands.
Many criminals pressure victims into acting immediately, whether threatening immediate action or pretending they need emergency assistance.
Reporting Wire Fraud
If you’re a victim of wire fraud, be sure to document emails, phone numbers, and receipts associated with the scam to include in your report. You should start by contacting your local law enforcement as well as your state consumer protection office to report any lost money or other assets.
The federal government also collects reports on wire fraud scams. Although the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can be contacted online, you can also call 1-877-382-4357 to report fraud as well. The FTC takes scam complaints related to:
- Wire transfers
- Phone Calls
- False checks
- Identity theft
If you need to report a fake email, website, or other internet scam, you can also file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3.) We’ve also reviewed the latest IC3 report and compiled the key takeaways. In any case involving fraud where your personal information might be at risk, you should also be sure to contact your banking institution or credit card company, as well as change the passwords on sensitive accounts.
When reporting real estate wire fraud, it’s important to remember that timing is critical. Prevention is key, which also includes having a plan and worksheet ready in the event of wire fraud. The ALTA Rapid Response Plan includes ten steps that can help protect your systems, as well as a worksheet to aid in creating your own plan. Frequently reviewing and reevaluating your plan can keep your employees up-to-date on what to do if you ever become a victim of wire fraud.
Closinglock Prevents Wire Fraud Before it Happens
Founded in 2017, Closinglock provides the industry-leading solution to share wire information safely and securely. We have protected more than $40 billion worth of real estate transactions, and are trusted by clients across all 50 states and over 40 different countries. Contact us today to see how we can help protect you.