Falling victim to a wire fraud scheme or related fraud can be financially devastating to agents and clients.
Wire and other disbursement instructions received by email should be confirmed by telephone at a known or independently-confirmed number, not the telephone number at the bottom of the email you are trying to confirm.
Be especially skeptical of any changes in wiring instructions. Who really changes their wire instructions that frequently?
Consider providing wire instructions via hard copy only, with a notation. “ With cyber-crimes on the increase, it is important to be ever vigilant.” If you receive an email, or any other communication that appears to be generated from our office, containing new, revised or altered bank wire instructions, consider it suspect and call our office or the escrow company at a number you trust. The escrow company bank wire instructions seldom change.
Be suspicious of emails from free, public email account domains as they are often a source of risk.
Watch out for phishing emails with embedded links, even when they appear to come from a trusted source.
Protect Your Emails with encryption – SecureMail.
The Select Group IT Department built a Registered Envelope Service, SecureMail, with Cisco, which allows the option of encrypting your emails and attachments containing your client’s personal and financial information. Select Group offers this additional service at no cost to you or your client – Its 100% Company Paid.
SecureMail was originally designed to meet compliance regulations for our lending division, Stanford Mortgage. While this is not a requirement, we felt that all persons; REALTORS®, Mortgage Advisors, Property Managers and support staff should have the ability to use SecureMail. It is an extremely helpful tool especially when working with sensitive information for foreign, military or any client hesitant to provide you with vital personal information. Without SecureMail plain-text, unencrypted, emails can easily be intercepted, read, and edited. In fact, sending an unencrypted email is a bit like sending a postcard written in pencil, whoever intercepts it can read it with ease.
If you’re interested in SecureMail ask your office administrator to enter an IT ticket for setup. A member of the Select IT Team will contact you directly and setup an appointment to review the system and provide you with a “lock” icon to be included in your email signature lines. As technology changes we need to become more aware of new scams and always be on the lookout. Pay attention and stay informed.
What would YOU like to see in the next edition of Risk Management? Let us know.