Why do Settlement Agents in Virginia now require “wires”?
My closing attorney never required wires from me in the past, why does he require a wire now? Why can’t I give him a cashier’s check?
Don’t take it personally. The wire is becoming the soul source of funding because it is the fastest way to deposit money that is available in the shortest time. Cashier’s or Certified Checks are rapidly becoming extinct. The problem with such checks is that they can be forged. Forgeries are often not discovered and reported for several days.
For example, a scammer finds a wealthy person’s bank account information on the west coast and uses sophisticated equipment to create what looks to the naked eye like a very real and enforceable certified check. Historically, a business on the east coast might even call the bank from which the funds were draw and might be reassured that the account owner had plenty of money in the account to cover the check. The check would be deposited in a bank on the east coast, take a day or two to hit the account of the person on the west coast, and be reported back to the west coast bank by their customer as “strange” or “I can’t remember writing such a check”. By the time the west coast bank and its customer confirm the check was forged, the east coast bank has disbursed on the proceeds. The scammer who gave the forged check to buy something may be long gone. Wires on the other hand are very hard to forge. To wrongfully take money from someone’s account by a wire, it requires human error.
But all this is old news. Now the scammers are constantly finding more and more sophisticated ways to have you voluntarily send wires to their accounts instead of your closing attorney’s account. They may open up very similar sounding accounts. But take a moment to listen to great “video blog” on Wire Fraud to get a better understanding of the risks.
When you realize that we are only doing what we do to protect your money and make sure it actually goes where you ultimately intend for it to go, you may feel better about the deposit requirements on your next closing!