BBB: scams to watch for while buying a home

Posted at 8:07 AM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 08:36:10-04

BOISE, Idaho — The housing market remains strong in the Treasure Valley with low rates and low inventory, but that excitement also comes with the risk of scams.

Rebecca Barr from the Better Business Bureau spoke with real estate experts who say between cash offers and bidding wars, things happen fast and you might miss some red flags as you get to the point of purchase. Barr says an escrow wire scam has been targeting consumers during the home buying process.

According to BBB, hackers insert themselves into email communications and attempt to change wiring instructions in hopes of stealing closing costs and down payments. Victims end up losing tens of thousands of dollars and their dream home.

Once you close on your house, that deed of trust becomes public record. This means your information, like your name, address, and loan information can be accessed online. Be aware that you will likely start to get post-close solicitations that can be deceiving. These come in the form of mail and phone calls and mention home warranties, home insurance, and even services such as getting copies of your deed of trust.

Buying a home is a big purchase that many people don’t do often so it can be complicated and confusing. Barr says knowledge is key so here’s what you need to know:

  • Know who you’re dealing with. Buying a home can be stressful, but having a trustworthy professional by your side can make the process easier. Do your research before signing up for their service to make sure they are reputable and have your best interest in mind.
  • Confirm communications. Know that you’ll be bombarded with requests for your information that look legitimate, but do your research to verify its authenticity. If something pops up like a change in wiring instructions, get a verbal confirmation by calling both your agent, the lender, and/or the title company.
  • Lockup your information. There’s a lot of paperwork that gets passed back and forth when buying a home. You’re giving them access to your financial accounts, credit reports, tax statements, and more. Make sure you’re on a secure network and beware of phishing emails that may be tricking you into giving out your information.

For more tips on navigating the home buying process, click here.