Wire fraud continues to be a serious and prevalent issue in real estate transactions. Criminals/hackers have become extraordinarily sophisticated and well-versed in targeting email accounts and transactions by either hacking or impersonating relevant stakeholders in a transaction (e.g. lawyers, title agents, mortgage bankers, loan officers, real estate agents, buyers and sellers. A fraudulent email may appear in your inbox with the property “display name” of the sender. It will look like it came from a trusted sender and many times it can contain a signature or attributes that resemble a trusted sender. You must treat every communication that is instructing you to wire or transmit funds as suspect.
Before wiring any money, call your lawyer or paralegal or real estate broker using contact information found from an independent source, such as sales contract, your contacts, business cards, or the internet (website), to verify any funding instructions received. Hacked or fraudulent emails can contain misleading phone numbers. NEVER rely on email for contact information and pay close attention to the email properties (such as variations of domain names, different “reply to” email addresses, etc. Be vigilant and stay paranoid. WE WILL NEVER SEND YOU A REQUEST FOR WIRE INSTRUCTIONS VIA EMAL. WE ONLY ACCEPT THIS INFORMTIION IN PERSON, THROUGH AN ENCRYPTED EMAIL, SECURE PORTAL, OVER THE TELEPHONE OR SENT VIA FEDEX OR USPO. THE BENEFICIARY ACCOUNT FOR INCOMING WIRES WILL ALWAYS BE; “HAGOPIAN LAW GROUP, LLC”. PLEASE CALL US AT 781.333.5244 or 508.902.7690.
We also recommend that you NEVER transmit any sensitive or financial information (e.g. social security numbers, account numbers, credit card numbers, wiring instructions, etc) in an email or as an attachment.