You pressed send, hundreds of thousands of dollars are now being transferred; and you are now the latest victim of wire fraud. You didn’t send the money to the seller. You unknowingly accepted fraudulent wire and disbursement instructions, that came in your email, and transferred the money to criminals. The clock is now ticking, minutes matter and if you have any hope of getting back any of your money, you need to act fast to recover from wire fraud.
Accepting wire and disbursement instructions by email is dangerous at best. Fraudsters are sending impostor emails with fake wire instructions, every chance they can get. We have talked before about how to prevent being duped. But if the worst happens, you took the bait and the money is gone– it’s vital you immediately take these steps to recover from wire fraud.
Act fast to recover from wire fraud
1. It’s go time. First and foremost, contact the bank from which you transferred the money AND the bank that received the funds. Have a fraud alert sent to the receiving bank and demand that they place a fraud freeze on the account. This is not the time to be polite or patient. When we say demand, we mean demand. Insist the bank confirm whether your funds are still in that account. If the funds are not in the account, do not get off the phone until you have been assured the bank will alert any other banks that received your funds, to place a fraud freeze on those accounts as well.
Call the FBI
2. Next, file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Have every detail about the transaction handy; you will need it to file the complaint. The IC3 will then issue you a complaint number. This is important because you will be asked for this number when you…
3. Call your local FBI field office. Ask for a special agent that processes financial or cyber crimes. They will ask for the IC3 complaint number. Remember all that transaction information we told you to have handy for the IC3 complaint? You will need all that when you call the FBI field office too.
Call a lawyer
4. Once you have contacted the banks and FBI, it’s time to call a lawyer. An attorney will help you determine if you need a temporary restraining order filed. Such an order would name all the banks that received your funds and prevent them from allowing any further transfer of funds.
Call all the banks, get a fraud freeze
5. Now, it’s time to get back on the phone. Call all the banks that may have also received your funds. Start with the bank where the money was initially wired. You will want to speak with someone in fraud prevention. Ask for a fraud freeze on any further transfers and then confirm that such a freeze is in place. Also ask how long the bank will maintain that freeze. Next, get the names and locations of any and all banks that received your funds. Keep a log of everyone with whom you have spoken and what time. Make sure you get direct call back numbers from everyone. Repeat these steps for all banks that received your funds.
Call the police
6. Finally, file a police report. This is NOT the time to keep things hush, hush. Every bit of information you provided to the FBI, also needs to go to the police. Make sure all the authorities have good contact information for you.
These six steps, all should happen within four hours of the wire fraud. Every minute that goes by lessens your chances, exponentially of recovering any money. Chances are, you will run up against, skepticism, resistance and reluctance. Remember that “demand” word? It is so important that you demand certain actions be taken quickly and then confirm that those things were done. Nobody is going to care as much about your money as you do, so recovering from wire fraud ultimately means being your own advocate and taking charge.
Call us if you have questions
At Landmark Title Agency, we work will all participants in a commercial and residential real estate transactions to help make sure your information and processing is kept as secure as possible. This requires constant attention to our best practice regarding security and staying up to date on all the latest BEC/AEC scams. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the security of your real estate transaction, please call us at (602)769-2800 or visit our website.