Happy New Year from your friends at Lakeside Title Company. We know many of you are looking ahead to an exciting 2022, full of great opportunities and possibilities. But if you’re still working on a New Year’s resolution, we have a suggestion: Increase your communication about the dangers of wire fraud with your clients.
Not a fun subject, we know, but one recent story from North Carolina reminded us that we cannot over communicate the need for vigilance in this area. It’s something we have tried to do for years for our customers, but this proved that we can’t talk about it too much with our partners and the general public.
Just check out these words:
“I think it should be at the beginning of the process, in the middle of the process and at the end of the process,” said Brendan Henkel, who told a reporter that he was scammed out of nearly $50,000 by cybercriminals pretending to be his title company.
Brendan’s story was alarming to us because these cybercriminals pounced immediately after he had been in contact with his actual title company. Using ransomware, they hijacked the exchange and sent 23 back and forth emails (including the closing disclosure paperwork, the legitimate name and signature from his closing agent, and even a note of congratulations) to fool him into thinking the communication was legit.
This scam is known as Business Email Compromise (BEC). The Lakeside Title team has talked about this before, but we want to make sure we continue to do our part this year to educate our customers on what to watch out for as they move closer to the closing process.
Here are a few warning signs you can share:
Emails that contain grammatical errors dismissed as typos – though it’s important to note that these criminals are getting smarter. Don’t assume a message without typos means it’s legitimate.
Repeated urgent requests to wire the funds or a sudden change in wiring instructions.
The name of your Realtor/loan officer/ title agent in the signature, but a change in the email address.
If you need more tips, contact us or check out this graphic from ALTA .Together, we can do our best to keep our clients secure and keep their buying or selling dreams for 2022 from becoming a nightmare.