Many of our real estate agency clients are concerned about wire fraud which can negatively impact their business and clients. All real estate agencies are at risk but it is a common misconception that some are not.. “We are not at risk because we never wire any money”. Just because you are not the entity in the transaction who is responsible for the wiring of funds doesn’t mean you are not a risk.
The bad guys are praying on the fact that your clients have not been explicitly told that you are NOT involved. There are 2 ways to help reduce your risk..#1 is educate your agents and your clients so they know what do look for and what to do when it comes time to transfer funds for closing. #2 is investing in a cyber liability policy which often costs less than $20 per agent per year. For this post, we are focusing on #1 .. educate your agents and clients.
One of our clients, who have already purchased a cyber liability policy, also created what we consider to be a good example of a warning document that is shared by their agents and signed by all their clients. They breakdown it down to 5 basic steps:
- Call, don’t email: Confirm all wiring instructions by phone before transferring funds. Use the phone number from the title company’s website or a business card.
- Be suspicious: It’s not common for title companies to change wiring instructions and payment info
- Confirm it all: Ask your bank to confirm not just the account number but also the name on the account before sending a wire.
- Verify immediately: You should call the title company to validate that the funds were received. The sooner it is detected that money has been sent to a wrong account, the better chance you have of recovering the money.
- Forward, don’t reply: When responding to an email, hit forward instead of reply and then start typing in the person’s email address. Criminals use email addresses that are very similar to the real one. By typing in email addresses you will make it easier to discover if a fraudster is after you.
Here is a link to the complete document.
Interested in PBI Group generating a Cyber Liability or E&O insurance quote for your real estate agency? Click here.