Posted by & filed under Tuesday Tidbits.

Here at DCAR, we want to make your jobs easier. That’s why we’ve started up our Tuesday Tidbits series, a weekly post that will provide you with a useful, relevant piece of information that will hopefully come in handy as you work. First up: wire fraud.

Wire Fraud

Wire fraud is one of the most common and devastating problems REALTORS® face on a day-to-day basis. This most frequently manifests in the following form:

  • The hacker breaks into the email of somebody involved in the transaction (you, your clients, other agents, etc.)
  • The hacker learns all about the buyer and the transaction
  • Right before closing, the hacker sends a fake email, which looks identical to previous real emails, to the buyer with revised instructions on how to wire the money for the sale
  • As soon as the money is wired, the account is closed, the hacker disappears completely and the money is gone forever

How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Wire Fraud

Most importantly: Never click links in emails you don’t recognize!

Of course, that won’t keep you completely safe. Part of what makes hackers so dangerous is their ability to impersonate senders you do recognize. It helps to be vigilant and double-check to make sure the email address is the one you think it is.

For example, emails coming from DCAR staff will always come from either or; if you get an email from somebody at, that’s a fake!

But if a hacker has gained access to a legitimate email address, it can be especially difficult to spot a red flag.

REALTOR® Mag has created a guide to help you keep hackers out of your email, which is linked below, but the ever-important first step is simply to educate yourself and others involved in a transaction:

“When it comes to a real estate transaction, you have so many different players, and all it takes is one person in that transaction who isn’t aware of the signs of fraud to make the whole thing implode,” says Jessica Edgerton, associate council of the National Association of REALTORS®. “As the initiators of a transaction, you can spread the word about these security problems to everyone in the transaction who needs to know about it.”


The information expressed herein is intended to serve as a general resource guide for the members of the District of Columbia Association of REALTORS® and is subject to change. While the District of Columbia Association of REALTORS® strives to make the information in this email as timely and accurate as possible, the Association makes no claims or guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the contents, and expressly disclaims liability for any errors and omissions. This information should not be taken as legal counsel.

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