In the digital era, fraudsters have upped their game to attempt to steal, connive, and deceive. A lucrative target for criminals is now the real estate industry at large. All parties involved in a real estate transaction must take extra steps to ensure minimal risk when dealing with sensitive information and funds. Fraudsters are constantly lurking for vulnerabilities at every corner of the internet, especially when it comes to online banking transactions. A known email scam called phishing is being utilized to redirect clients’ money into fraudulent accounts. “Phishing is a fraudulent practice of sending emails from a reputable company to convince individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers”. In these cases, fraudsters are hacking into email accounts of lenders, real estate agents or title companies, pretending to be an employee, and then providing false information, such as fraudulent wiring instructions. If their attempts are successful and funds are delivered to a fraudulent account, the funds are virtually impossible to recover. Because of this, Federal Title & Escrow Company will only send wire instructions to clients via email, in a secured format and only upon request. Clients should never accept wiring instructions from any other party. So that our clients can also take their own precautionary steps when sending funds, we’ve prepared the below wire verification checklist:
- Verify that the wiring instructions are received, in a secured email format, from Federal Title & Escrow Company.
- Have your bank verify that the name on the account of the receiving bank is Close It! Title Services, Inc. D/B/A Federal Title & Escrow Company.
- If the wiring instructions you have received do not display the receiving bank as United Bank and/or do not display the recipient or beneficiary as Federal Title & Escrow Company and/or Close It! Title Services, Inc., or a combination thereof, you should immediately STOP and contact our office by phone at 202-362-1500.