If it involves more than a few thousand dollars, for God’s sake, verify by phone call.
The process of buying or selling a home can be extremely stressful and complex, but imagine the stress that would boil up if — at settlement — your money was wired to scammers in another country instead of to the settlement firm or escrow company. Here’s the story about a phishing email that cost a couple their home and left them scrambling for months to recover hundreds of thousands in cash that went missing.
As we move to a time where we all have 401Ks and we control our own retirements funded by very large sums of money accumulated over a lifetime (and away from corporate-controlled pensions), we’re moving towards a time when each of us will have large, six-figure and seven-figure amounts held in accounts in our name.
Worse, we are also moving towards a time when easily falsified instructions can be transmitted via e-mail, falsified instructions which can quickly drain our accounts and destroy our lives.
So when you see an instruction for a sizable amount of money–please, please, please pick up the fucking phone.