Goldstein & Levy, P.A., General Counsel
December 8, 2014 | Alert! Email Wire Fraud Scams on the Rise
We have been alerted to a growing variety of email wire fraud scams throughout the country, and in our locality.
The most recent involved an email sent allegedly from the Realtor®’s brokerage stating that their account was “closed due to audit” and requesting commissions be sent to an “alternative address.”
The new information proved to be bogus, thus evidencing that the Realtor®’s or their brokerage’s emails had been hacked.
In some of the prior scams, hackers appropriated lender/loan officer emails, title company emails as well as client emails and provided false wire instructions allegedly from the proper parties that ultimately directed the funds to the hackers’ accounts. It is quite usual for the hackers to monitor the transaction and send the false instructions at the time of the closing. The emails may look genuine and the email address of the sender is often the correct email address making it difficult to identify a bogus message.
In some cases, the scams were discovered prior to sending out wires to incorrect and possibly overseas receivers via these instructions, usually because the party targeted called to verbally verify the information with a known contact. In a few cases parties followed the instructions and sent the wires, only to have lost the funds totally.
We hope this alert is a valuable tool for your offices to use in preventing these scammers from siphoning your funds or the funds of your clients.