Fraud is trending, and that’s not a good thing. Today, wire fraud is the fastest growing real estate cybercrime in the United States – and it’s costing every party to the transaction. Falling victim to a wire fraud scheme or related fraud can be financially devastating – to both your bottom line and your business relationships. Even if you’re insured properly against this kind of risk, (and you should be), it’s vital that you communicate with your employees about how to protect your business and your customers against fraud. Keep these tips somewhere your entire office staff will see them frequently – one slip can really cost you.

Confirm all wire and other disbursement instructions received by email.
Emailed wire instructions should be confirmed by telephone at a known or independently confirmed number, NOT the telephone number at the bottom of the email you are trying to confirm.

Doubt first.
Be especially skeptical of any change in disbursement instructions. Who really changes their wire instructions that frequently?  Title companies, especially, rarely alter their wire instructions.

Confirm the account.
The account to which you are wiring should always be the name of the party entitled to the funds.

Go with hard copies.
Consider providing YOUR wire instructions to your clients and/or vendors via hard copy only, with a notation: With cybercrimes on the increase, it is important to be ever-vigilant. If you receive an email, or any other communication that appears to be generated from our office containing new, revised or altered bank wire instructions, consider it suspect and call our office at a number you trust. Our bank wire instructions seldom change.

Be suspicious of emails from free, public email account domains.
Emails from these types of accounts are often a source of risk.

Watch out for phishing emails.
Phishing emails – particularly those with embedded links – should always be treated with suspicion, even when they appear to come from a trusted source.

Samantha Flaherty
First American Title Insurance Company
Tel: 702.420.9253 | SFlaherty@firstam.com