Recent Cyber Fraud
Cyber fraud update. Here’s the update: cyber fraud is getting worse! In just the past week, the Attorney Title Fund has reported that it has spoken with two Fund Members who had extremely close calls with an attempted wire diversion involving significant amounts of money. One was able to get the money back because of quick action by their office; the other Member avoided it completely by spotting suspicious email addresses used by the fraudster. The Attorney Title Fund is putting more energy toward helping its members avoid these situations. They have updated the information on the website. The Fund now have phone numbers for the regional Secret Service offices. They have an updated rapid response plan that Members must get familiar with.
- The Fund have encouraged its members to have a rapid response plan tailored their office. This means having the phone number of the Member’s bank (the sending bank) handy AND the direct line for the security officer. Get to know them. Make sure the bank understand that you need to be able to reach them if you suspect a wire has gone out to a fraudster.
- Please realize that there is very high level of market anxiety on the part of buyers – because of the limited number of homes on the market, buyers are very, very motivated to make sure they do everything “right” to make sure the deal closes. This makes them very vulnerable to fraudster emails. Therefore, the closing agent should establish a relationship with the buyer if they are going to be communicating with them about the transfer of funds.
- Real estate agents are also experiencing high anxiety for the same reason: the number of homes on the market is so limited. And they are not educated on these scams. Make sure you regularly talk with your referral partners about this situation and educate them on how the fraudsters operate to insert themselves into a transaction.
- Lastly, closing agents should educate themselves about how they can implement some protocols in their office on the technology side. Use multifactor authentication whenever an employee signs in to your system. Educate yourself on how to check to see if rules have been imbedded in your email account without your knowledge. CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS OFTEN. And consider the low-tech alternative: TALK TO PEOPLE ON THE PHONE.
Excepts taken from Melissa Jay Murphy Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and General Counsel of the Attorney Title Fund Article 4/18/2022