Escrow Thursday: Spotting Escrow Fraud

Spotting escrow fraud

With a lot of consumers using the Internet for more and more transactions, it might be tempting to use an online escrow service. I am not saying not to use this type of service, what I am saying is, be careful. The old saying “Buyer beware” is even more true when dealing with companies online. Here are a few tips I hope you will find useful when and if you decide to deal with an online escrow company.

Call customer service

Call an escrow site’s customer service number. Not being able to get a live person on the phone can be a red flag. If you get a fax or a generic voicemail that says to leave a message, it is probably a scam. If there is not an address or phone number to call, do not use them.

Verify licensing information

Study all licensing information very carefully. Contact the state licensing authority and verify that they are licensed to do business in your state. Check their information carefully. Many scam sites steal a legitimate license number from other companies. Also check when an escrow site’s domain name was registered. Many say they have been in business for years but only have been registered for a few days or weeks. Use a “whois” tool at any domain name registrar, such as networksolutions.com or godaddy.com to ascertain as to when the site was registered.

Sloppy content is a good indicator

Spelling errors, bad grammar, broken links are all good indicators that the site is a scam. A great website is, of course, not a guarantee that the site is not a scam. A flawless site can still be a scam. No matter how good a site looks, verify, verify, verify.

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