Vigilant law firm spots and averts real estate wire fraud!
Lawyers who work with real estate clients and wire funds as part of their practice need to be aware of email spoofing frauds that could potentially cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars.
While spoofing (email messages created with fraudulent sender address) affect all types of professionals, real estate lawyers are particularly vulnerable as they handle millions of dollars. Here is a close call shared from clients in the Prairies.
A Manitoba lawyer representing a private lender received a call from the law firm representing the borrower in a private loan transaction. The borrower’s law firm received an email that appeared to be from the lawyer requesting that they advance by wire $9,000 to secure the forthcoming private loan.
The law firm knew something smelled fishy and made a call to confirm the lawyer’s email request. The lawyer denied the demand for the $9,000 wire advance, and upon closer look, the email address of the spoofer was off by one character.
Had the firm wired the $9000, the money would be gone and the loss unrecoverable.
5 Tips to Protect Yourself from Email Spoofing
- Look out for odd URL links, unusual urgency, strange requests and last-minute changes
- Always call to confirm payment details as the law firm did in the incident above
- Check your junk mailbox daily and install antivirus software
- Regularly change your passwords and use 2 step authentications where possible
- Be vigilant and examine whether the incoming email has passed authentication processes like DKIM, DMARC and SPF
- Link to more tips
The Chicago Title Assurance:
Real estate lawyers and notaries are encouraged to contact their Regional Managers at Chicago Title to understand better the fraud types and how to protect themselves and their clients.
To learn more visit ctic.ca.