Wire fraud is a source of significant harm to financial institutions, with an estimated $1.77 billion stolen in 2019, according to the FBI. For mortgage companies, the vulnerabilities surrounding the closing table constitute an especially big risk. Excited and anxious about closing, borrowers are vulnerable to email scams from criminals posing as lenders or title companies, resulting in a financial disaster if they direct their banks to wire money to the wrong place.
So what happens after that devastating event? Is the borrower just out the money, or does the lender or title company bear some of the responsibility for the loss? It’s an important question that is still being worked out in the legal system, but several experts say financial companies and other parties in closing have more liability than they might imagine.