Wire Fraud Continues To Plague Financial and Other Industries

Banks are all too familiar with wire fraud that occurs in just about every imaginable situation. One industry facing a dramatic increase in wire fraud: real estate. According to the FBI, the Internet Crime Complaint Center saw a 480% increase in the number of complaints filed last year by those who work in the real estate industry. In 2017, cyber criminals stole or attempted to steal almost $1 billion from real estate purchase transactions, up from $19 million in 2016.


Innovation and new technologies give consumers instant access to money with new products and services; they also give fraudsters the same access. Major reasons for the rise in wire fraud include: faster fund transfers; sophisticated criminals who are increasingly finding ways to build networks and connect with other like-minded criminals; and banks and finance companies competing to capture more and more of consumers’ wallet share with aggressive marketing campaigns.  Banks, the FBI, government agencies, industry organizations and the media have been proactive in exposing this criminal activity, educating the public about how to identify wire fraud red flags and take steps to secure their bank accounts and personal information.


“Over the last several years, we’ve heard much more about cybercrime in the media and our awareness has heightened, meaning victims could be more likely to report than they were in the past. What we know for sure is that wire fraud in real estate is on the rise–by a whole lot,” said ERA Real Estate CEO Sue Yannaconne.


Regardless of the reason for the reported increases, banks need to amp up their internal cybersecurity processes and technologies. Rehmann’s alliance with CertifID can help banks guarantee money lands in the right hands:


  • Registration and sign-in processes utilize Knowledge Based Authentication, Digital Verification and Two-Factor Authentication to certify the identity of each person
  • Bank routing information and account credentials from the owner of the account are confirmed
  • Once the identity of the individual is confirmed and bank account credentials approved, funds are transferred with trust

In addition to IT upgrades to internal systems and cyber fraud detection processes, employees’ actions can have a big impact on managing the bank’s fraud prevention activities. Some helpful tips from CertifID include:


  • Train employees to be aware of anything that might look different outside of their normal world. This can include email, phone, other forms of communication, or people without proper identification. Train with real examples to make a strong impact.
  • Never enter login information outside of normal outlets, especially email
  • Don’t open unexpected, unsolicited, or suspicious attachments.
  • Ensure data is saved to trusted network/server locations and do not allow USB storage devices.
  • Instill trust between employees, IT, and security. If an employee falls victim to a scam or phishing attack, IT, and security, can provide remediation resources to the individual and organization.
  • Conduct unannounced phishing testing on a periodic basis..

To help protect your bank from wire fraud, please contact your Business Advisor for new solutions, including more information about our alliance with CertifID.

CLICK HERE for fraud prevention best practices.

CLICK HERE to read more about real estate wire fraud. 

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