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Rose Sheehan, left, and Mike Pappas, right.

Over the past several years, buyers, sellers and closing agents have made greater use of wire transfers to deliver and collect funds. While this is a best practice for risk management in real estate transactions, it has fallen prey to scammers who exploit security weaknesses to steal money. Based on our experience at Keyes and what we have learned from real estate experts, the threat can be minimized.

Wire transfers are often used for earnest money deposits at the time a contract is executed and for final cash payment on the day of closing. They offer many advantages. First, they are fast; money arrives on the same day it is due, often in a matter of hours. There’s no waiting for a check to clear, even if it’s a certified check. Second, wire transfers comply with requirements for cleared funds so that disbursements can be made and a home sale can be finalized.

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