The first and easiest step you can take when interacting with a new client is to use FOREWARN, an NVAR member benefit provided at no additional cost to our REALTORS®. With FOREWARN, you can screen all prospective clients to verify their identity, search for criminal histories, and validate financial and property records. Once you have verified the individual’s identity, keep an eye out for any red flags: vacant lots, a heightened sense of urgency to exchange funds in a transaction, out-of-state owners, and conversations only by email or text. You should always strive to pick up the phone to speak to your client – and try to meet them in person or on video, (multiple verified methods of communication will help confirm identity!). If someone insists that they have Power of Attorney over a party in a transaction, ask to see the document yourself. When in doubt, get a second or third pair of eyes on the transaction to help catch those warning signs: your broker is a great start
For more information, please visit Fraud Prevention Resources (nvar.com). If you or your client have been a victim of wire fraud, please report it to the FBI at Internet Crime Complaint Center(IC3) | Home Page.