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Scammers finding new ways to take advantage of homebuyers

Experts said record-high home prices and higher down payments make wire transfer fraud even more appealing for scammers.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Home prices are higher than ever, according to the National Association of Realtors. With down payments more than they’ve ever been, scammers are finding new ways to take advantage of homebuyers.

A Middle Tennessee man has a warning for others after he lost around $226,000 which was meant for property in Florida. Randall Shaw said he still can’t stomach the fact he almost lost that much money.

“It’s very, very sickening,” Shaw said. "We wired the money."

Experts said record-high home prices and higher down payments make wire transfer fraud even more appealing for scammers.

“They’re so sophisticated. They can move that money so quickly. They can’t track it down,” said Diane Tomb, CEO of the American Land Title Association.

In Shaw’s case, like many others, it started with an email appearing to be from the title company with wiring instructions. However, those instructions send your money to scammers and not the title company.

“Nobody should ever wire money based on an email they received,” Tomb said.

Instead, Tomb suggests calling your title company on the phone to confirm all the details. An email asking to change anything is a warning sign, she said.

Shaw was fortunate to get his money back but knows others might not be so lucky.

“If you’re wiring money out there, you need to make sure that it gets authenticated before you send it,” Shaw said.

Experts also said that if homebuyers are ever asked to wire money early or the amount changes and you’re notified by email, they should call their bank immediately. And if they think they're a victim of wire fraud, click to report it.

This story was originally reported by WSMV in Nashville.

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