- Make sure to request wiring instructions directly from the closing agent with each transaction. This will ensure that the instructions are current as well as ensure that old instructions saved in an email account have not been tampered.
- Insist that the wire instructions come to you and your client using a secure email. At Berlin Patten Ebling, we always provide wiring instructions for each transaction in the form of a secured email to protect the party delivering the wire to us. If you do not receive instructions from a secure email, DO NOT rely upon them.
- Do not forward someone else’s wire instructions. Require the closing agent or the party to transmit wire their instructions directly to each other. DO NOT GET IN THE MIDDLE. You are only creating unnecessary liability for yourself.
- Question any email that claims that there has been a change in wiring instructions, either from a closing agent or from your buyer or seller. A quick telephone call can prevent a scammer from intercepting the wire.
- Warn your clients to be vigilant and not to send wires unless they are sure the instructions have come from a trusted source.
- Finally, if you do think that your email may have been hacked, make sure to immediately change your username and password, warn clients or parties to be on the lookout for any fraudulent emails from your account, and report any fraudulent activity so that others may be aware of the attempted scam.
If you have any questions about how to best protect yourself and your clients in your real estate transactions, please contact your local real estate attorney.