Protect Yourself From Cyber Fraud
Watch the video or read below to learn how to protect yourself from cyber fraud.
It should come as no surprise that wire theft is on the rise and with this Realtors ®, Real Estate Brokers, Buyers and Sellers are some of the biggest targets. According to FBI’s public service announcement on July 12, 2018, criminals hack email accounts and can obtain information about upcoming real estate transactions. After monitoring the email account, the hacker tries to determine a likely closing date and then sends an email posing as either the escrow agent or real estate agent. The fraudulent email will contain new wiring instructions or routing information and will request that the buyer send funds accordingly.
Premier Title of Florida is asking all clients to CALL US BEFORE WIRING ANY FUNDS and to never solely rely upon email communication. Below are a few additional tips and suggestion to help protect you and your money:
How Your Money Gets Stolen
- Hacked email – Hackers get access to the email account of someone involved in the transaction – the buyer, seller, real estate agent, mortgage lender, title agent, or other.
- Email from hacker – The hacker then emails that person to change the wiring or payment instructions without knowledge from the other parties.
- Consumer pays wrong account – If not questioned, the wrong account gets the down payment or other funds and the criminal gets away.
- Closing day – By the time closing day arrives and the mistake is realized, often the funds are long gone.
How to Avoid Wire Fraud
Rule 1: Always question emails that contain wiring instructions.
Hackers have learned to exploit the real estate closing process to steal millions of dollars from people buying or selling a home.
Rule 2: Always call before sending any money.
When you do receive instructions on where to send money prior to closing, always call your contact person at the title company to verify. Then call your bank to verify as well.
Rule 3: Always call after sending money.
It’s always a good idea to call right after money is sent. That way, you can verify that it was received by the correct recipient.
Rule 4: Act immediately if anything seems unusual.
Contact your bank, mortgage company, and title company immediately if anything is in question. If something is wrong, you may need to contact your local FBI office.
We have implemented multiple industry procedures to ensure your privacy and security. These include ALTA’s Best Practices, TRID, and Data Call. Powerful tools help us ensure that the largest transaction of your life is completed the right way the first time.
For example, weekly staff meetings and quarterly trainings keeps our team up-to-date on the latest industry requirement and company policies.
Here are a few of the ways we have gone above and beyond industry requirements to protect you and your information:
- Secure website – We want to protect your information from the moment you first contact us.
- Secure email – Much of today’s wire fraud[Link] starts in email. This is why any emails we send that contain private information are sent encrypted.
- Firewall – Call us overprotective, but our offices have a firewall as added security for all Internet traffic going in and coming out.
- Frequent backups – We frequently back up your data to prevent data loss in the event of a disaster.
- Cybersecurity insurance – We also carry cyber insurance to protect any affected parties if there ever was a data breach.