Knoxville Buyers Beware: Don’t Be A Victim of Wire Fraud

Jan 19, 2017 | Buying A Home, Closing Process

The real estate world has always been a place where criminals hope to make an easy buck.

Real estate transactions involve a lot of money changing hands, which makes them a key target.

Nowadays, Knoxville title companies often require wire transfers for closings. Of course, as the requirements for closings change, so do the scams that are aimed at innocent buyers and sellers.

Wire fraud is the current scam aimed at real estate transactions. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at what wire fraud is and how to avoid it when you close on a Knoxville home.

What Is Wire Fraud?

There are two different ways that wire fraud takes place in Knoxville closings. In each case of wire fraud, someone involved in the transaction gets hacked through email. A buyer, seller, realtor, mortgage company or title company may have their email hacked without realizing it. The hacker will monitor their email and look for pertinent details about the transaction.

Here is how the scenario can play out.

Wire fraud affecting a buyer happens when a buyer gets instructions to wire funds to a place other than the title company. Usually, a buyer will receive an email from either the title company or their realtor asking them to wire the funds somewhere other than where they may have previously been told. This email often appears authentic because it’s coming from a realtor or title company’s email. When buyer wires the money, it goes to the wrong place, leaving the buyer out of thousands of dollars.

As a seller, the situation is similar. The title company will get an email indicating that they should wire the funds to a certain place. The email appears authentic because it comes from the seller’s email. So, after closing, the title company wires the funds, only to find out they’ve gone to the wrong place.

Wire fraud is a pretty scary concept, especially because it can appear so real and authentic.

How To Protect Yourself Against Wire Fraud

Don’t Open Suspicious Emails

All wire fraud starts with email. In order to be able to commit wire fraud, hackers must gain access to someone in a transaction’s email. You should be wary of opening any strange or suspicious emails. If an email seems suspicious, err on the side of caution and call the sender prior to opening.

Know Your Contacts

In order to be sure you’re corresponding with the right people, it’s important to know who is involved in your real estate transaction. Be sure you know who is handling your closing and what company they are with. Also, be sure that you know how they will be corresponding with you over the course of the transaction. This will make it easy for you to spot anything out of the ordinary.

Follow Up With A Phone Call

Even when you know who you’re corresponding with, when it comes to wiring money, it can be smart to follow up with a phone call. Prior to sending out your wire or receiving wiring instructions, be sure to call your title company to confirm it’s going to the right place. This will allow you know for sure that you’re wiring the money to the right place.

Use Common Sense

Finally, in order to protect yourself against wire fraud, use good, old common sense. Pay attention to what your gut is telling you. Here are a few things that should raise red flags:

  • You were previously told to send funds somewhere else.
  • The bank on the wiring instructions isn’t local.
  • The new instructions come at the last minute.

Most title companies will bank with a local bank and won’t be scrambling at the last minute to change what they’ve already told you. If this happens, double check with a phone call to verify.

What Title Group Does To Protect Our Clients From This

Title Group prides itself on protecting its clients throughout a transaction. For our wire transfers, we will verbally verify with you about all wire transfers, that way that you can take comfort in knowing your funds are safe.

Are you looking for a Knoxville title company?  Look no further than Title Group of Tennessee! We are dedicated to providing timely, efficient, and accurate closing services to our clients. Please do not hesitate to contact us about the services that we offer or with any questions you may have regarding the closing process.  Give us a call at 865-392-5801, or send an email to

We welcome the opportunity to work with you and are happy to assist you in any way that we can.