This alert is to notify our customers of a recent notice from our Underwriters regarding Email Wire Fraud Scams. We have recently learned of a scheme in which Title Companies, Lenders and Homebuyers have received emails aledging to be from other parties involved in their real estate closing. These emails contain false wire instructions and direct the Title Company, Lender and/or Homebuyer to wire closing funds to bank accounts that are actually owned by the hackers themselves. The emails may appear to be genuine and contain the senders company email information and/or logos, etc. Once the funds were wired pursuant to the fraudulant instructions, the funds were stolen with little chance of return. This scam appears to be somewhat similiar to the email hacking scheme that came to light earlier this year that targeted real estate agents.
It is apparent in all of these types of scams that the hackers monitor the email traffic of at east one of the parties involved in the transaction and are aware of the timing of upcoming transactions and the parties involved.
We strongly encourage that immediate steps are taken to secure your computer systems and email accounts and verify any instruction for wiring funds to safeguard yourself against this type of scheme. There are a list of government and industry websites that provide tips to protect yourself against cybercrime.
Here is a partial list:
If you have any questions concerning this Alert, please contact your local Security 1st Title office.