Protect Yourself from Email Fraud

Friday, Apr. 1st 2016

 

Protect Yourself from Email Fraud

At Continental Title, we pride ourselves on providing exceptional customer service to our clients. We hold ourselves to the highest standard when it comes to protecting your information, and want to alert you to a recent security threat in the industry. Whether you are a realtor, lender, attorney, buyer, seller, or anyone else who works with sensitive data, we hope you can use this information to protect yourself from the recent increase in email fraud.

The Federal Trade Commission and National Association of Realtors have issued an alert to consumers and professionals to be on the lookout for money wiring scams. These scams can be difficult to spot if you don’t know what to look for, and can cause significant financial damage to you or your client. Here’s how it works: hackers break into an individual email account to steal financial information about upcoming real estate transactions. They then send a message to the realtor or title company, posing as the individual, telling them the wiring instructions have changed. Of course, the ‘new’ wiring information is actually the hacker’s own account number. If any of the targeted parties take the bait, entire bank accounts can be lost.

You understand the threat, now here’s what you can do to protect yourself from falling victim to email fraud:

  • Use a secure email account with firewalls and keep your security software up to date.
  • Take time to read emails carefully before responding with private information. Is the sender’s email address spelled correctly? Are typos scattered throughout the message? Certain phrases and buzzwords are associated with fraud – if the tone of the message sounds a little off, chances are you have reason to be suspicious.
  • Do not accept last-minute changes to wiring instructions. If changes are unavoidable, speak to your Escrow Closer about the process you need to follow to get those instructions changed.
  • If you have sent or received wire information to or from a suspicious email account, report it immediately to the bank and the title company escrow department involved. Every minute matters.

Continental Title takes security very seriously. In order to keep our clients safe from fraud, we will no longer accept wire instructions sent from an unsecured email account. We will only provide our company wire instructions directly to the lending institution or directly to the buyer’s bank, by encrypted email, fax, or regular USPS mail.

If you have any questions regarding this email fraud, please visit the ‘Contact Us’ tab on our website and send us a message.


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