September 2019 YTD Maui Real Estate Stats and Wire Fraud
September 2019 YTD Maui Real Estate Stats
Third quarter real estate statistics are in and median sales prices for homes, condo and
land continue to rise. ($745,845, $518,000 and $499,375, respectively). While home sales
are down on Maui, Upcountry and West Maui districts increased with 38 more home
recordings upcountry and 1 more home on West Maui. For condos, Kapalua and Lahaina
condos experienced a notable increase with a 31% and 28% jump vs. 2018.
Unfortunately in our industry, buyers, sellers and all participants of a real estate
transactions have become targets of wire fraud. Wire fraud is the vehicle of stealing
money via email. On average, $8 million in losses are reported each month of wire
How it works: Fraudsters gain entry into computers via email by sending a link that
takes recipients to a site designed to infect your computer and/or steal passwords.
Once they have access to your email, they watch the transactions vs. email, and prior to
closing when wire instructions and information are dispersed to parties, they send
buyers/agents altered wire instructions, using a fake email address that is very similar to
the real estate agent/escrow officer. In most cases, wire instructions often refer to a
sense of urgency and may even state that the Broker/Escrow officer needs an email
confirmation, rather than a phone call. Once the consumer wires the funds to the
fraudster’s account, they are stolen with very little or no recourse for the consumer.
Here’s are suggestions on how to greater protect yourself from being hacked:
- Be aware that NOT all emails are legitimate
- Consider using a two factor authentication for emails.
- Be very careful with attachments and links in emails
- Run current antivirus & browser protection software
If you’re in escrow, here’s how to avoid the potential risk of fraud:
- Be sure to obtain, confirm and note the phone number and the email addresses of your real estate agent and your escrow contact and best to do so by phone.
- Review email instructions carefull. Do NOT click on any links without confirmation that the email is from your real estate agent or escrow officer.
- Always look closely at the email address of the sender, making sure it’s correct, especially doing so if you look at emails off your phone. Be wary of ANY variance in the sender’s email address. (For example, [email protected] is not the same as [email protected])
- Title companies will NEVER change the wire instructions throughout your transaction, hence, NEVER wire funds without confirming wire instructions directly with your escrow officer via phone.
*All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed, and should not be relied upon without independent verification. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any misprints, typographical errors, or misinformation and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided by the REALTORS Association of Maui Inc (C) and is for consumer’s personal, non-commercial use. Information on this site was last updated (insert publication date). This is not intended as legal or tax advice, and readers are urged to consult with the appropriate professionals to determine the accuracy of information.
AVP, Strategic Business Development
Fidelity National Title & Escrow:
Reta Chin-Chiarella is a contributing writer to Maui Now. Reta’s experience in the Maui escrow/title/real estate industry dates back to 1990. Named Affiliate of the Year by the Realtors Association in 2000 and she’s also been recognized for sales awards in her career. Fidelity National Title is recognized as the leader in the industry, ranked 303 in the Fortune 500. Fidelity is the highest rated and largest title insurance company, underwriting one of three policies, nationwide. One of the offices is located at the Shops at Wailea, at 3750 Wailea Alanui, Suite 22EW in Wailea. You can Follow Reta on IG @RetaChinFidelity.
Offices of Fidelity National Title & Escrow are available in: Kahului (808) 893-0556; Lahaina (808) 661-4960; Upcountry (808) 573-0110; and Wailea (808) 891-2404.