One of the things everyone in real estate needs to be worried about in 2018 is something we’ve been fighting for years: criminals using wire fraud to attempt to steal money from our clients.
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Realtors, mortgage lenders, and yes, title insurance and closing companies, have become popular vehicles for criminals targeting the unsuspecting public. Unfortunately, no one expects that trend to slow anytime soon. The people behind these scams are experts. In New York, for example, scammers swindled a state supreme court justice! You need to do all you can to protect yourself, your business – and your clients.
So, what can you do?
Once money is sent to one of these scammers, it’s nearly impossible to get it back, so you can never take too many precautions. You should remind your client to NEVER wire money without confirming first. Tell them to be suspicious if they get an email that you didn’t personally tell them they would receive. Remind them if they have any doubt of a message’s authenticity they can call you personally or check with Fortune Title.
And of course, remind your clients to never send financial information, such as account numbers, via email. Just like their banking information, tell them that any person legitimately working on their account should already know their information.
We know you’ve heard this before but never click a link in an email you’re not expecting. Password strength remains important too. For example, Password1 and abc123 are NOT secure. Pick hard security questions. Your mother’s maiden name is also no longer to be used for anything important. Think about how easy that would be to figure out. Thanks for nothing, Facebook.
Remind customers that you will convey any last-minute changes to them. This way, if a scammer is pretending to be you or someone else at your company, they will know that’s not how you conduct business. And, of course, tell them to verify with you or your team if they ever think something seems fishy.
It’s up to each of us to protect our businesses and our customers.