In a real estate transaction, wire transfers occur to shift the majority of associated funds from their place of origination to their final destination. The actual handling of cash by a title company happens very infrequently, if ever. Commonly, however, certain costs are required to be paid at the time of closing. In some instances, if the amount is small, a title company may permit a buyer to bring cash. The typical scenario usually requires a buyer to bring a cashier's check at the time of closing to cover these costs. These costs may be referred to as "cash to close". Check with your lender or settlement agent regarding the best way to provide these funds at the time of closing.

Due to the many risks involved with handling large amounts of money, the number one reason title companies prefer not to handle cash is safety. Employee and customer safety becomes a concern. Storing the money becomes a safety concern. Even transporting the money for deposit becomes a safety concern.

Other problems associated with the acceptance of cash by title companies include reporting requirements which the banking industry is subject to regarding cash deposits. The depositing of large cash sums would require a settlement agent to complete extensive paperwork as required by the federal government for the tracking of funds. Additionally, there become risks associated with counterfeit money as well.

The increased use of wire transfers in the title industry has resulted in a common wire fraud scheme involving last-minute changes to wiring information. These changes are usually received via email from legitimate-looking email addresses. If this occurs to you, contact your settlement agent by phone to verify the legitimacy of these changes. Often these schemes are successful when communication through email is solely relied upon.

For more information regarding wire fraud or additional information regarding your upcoming real estate transaction please contact our office so we may be of assistance.

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