Central Mississippi REALTORS®
620 N. State Street Suite 100
Jackson, MS 39202
January 22, 2018
Wire fraud is the single biggest issue facing the real estate industry today with $14 million in consumer funds lost in the 1st quarter of 2017. Having the closing date from emails, hackers email the parties or their agents posing as the title company or closing attorney. The emails appear valid. Unaware victims wire the closing proceeds, down payment or other funds directly to the hackers fraudulent account. Keep your clients’ funds save with these best practices:
- Warn clients from DAY ONE about wire fraud and the importance of verification
- Verify all requests for funds, wiring instructions, and other critical items BY PHONE
- Always question last minute changes to protocols, especially those involving payments or transfer of funds
- Warn clients to look carefully at email addresses they reply to. Watch for “one off” addresses. Hackers change one letter or number in the email address that is hardly noticed sending the email to the hacker’s fraudulent account.
- Use only encrypted email on secure servers
- Never click an unknown link in an unverified email
- Clean out your email box regularly; stored messages can be used by hackers to learn sensitive information about you, your business and your clients
- Change user names and passwords regularly
- Use and maintain the most current firewall and anti-virus technologies on all systems.
- Report suspicious emails to the FBI
- If a wire has been initiated and you suspect fraud, contact the bank immediately. It may be possible to terminate the wire before the funds go through. Then, report the scheme to the FBI.
- For more information contact FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center at fbi.gov/scams-safety/e-scams