Real Estate Agents BEWARE: Hackers Are Sending Emails Changing Disbursement Instructions!

Email HackersALERT: Email Hackers are getting the best of real estate and title closing agents with “new” disbursement instructions!

You need to be aware of a scam where hackers are able to hack into the email accounts of real estate brokers and others to get details of closing transactions. They then send emails to the closing agent, directing a change to the disbursement instructions.

In a most recent incident that occurred this past Friday, a closing agent sent an email to all of the parties in a transaction letting them know that the transaction had closed and the funds had been disbursed.  A party member who could not attend asked to pick up their check on Monday.  Monday morning the closing agent received an email from the absent party member that it would be more convenient if the funds could be wired instead.  Coincidentally, while the closing agent was in the process of initiating the wire transfer, the absent party member sent a text message asking when would be a good time to pick up the check.

As it turns out, the absent party member never emailed the closing agent and the account the funds were to be wired to was not his account!  

To prevent this from happening to you, do not rely on instructions received by email, no matter how good the email looks, or how many specific details the email sender provides. These hackers are good.

In my own practice, I ask that all disbursement instructions are provided in writing and notarized.  Any changes to such disbursement instructions requires a my personal verification and a new notarized disbursement instruction sheet.

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