Thank you for choosing The McCall Law Firm to assist you and guide you through your real estate transaction. We look forward to working with you and want you to have the best experience possible. That being said, our office would like to make you aware of the unfortunate, yet very real, risks and threats currently surrounding our local real estate market.
The threat of wire fraud is increasing at an alarming rate. It has become a very common trend that hackers, through various and sometimes unknown means, are gaining access to the email accounts of buyers, sellers, real estate agents, lenders, and/or law firms. These hackers are then sending fake and fraudulent wiring instructions (usually to the buyers) in an effort to misdirect funds into the banking account(s) of the hacker. As soon as the hacker receives the funds, the funds are immediately transferred to an offshore account and are irretrievably gone for good.
These hackers will often attempt to engage in what appears to be a legitimate conversation regarding the subject closing before asking that any wire be sent. Some hackers have even had access to preliminary Closing Disclosures (CD). The hackers will send the preliminary CD to the buyer(s) to convince the buyer(s) to send a wire for the amount listed on the preliminary CD. Some hackers will even attempt to copy or replicate the logos of law firms, lenders, and/or real estate agents to make their emails appear more legitimate and real.
It is absolutely imperative that you remain cautious, aware, and vigilant throughout this process. Please note that our office will only send you wiring instructions in a secured and/or password protected format. We will also never send you an email asking you to send out any wire. Lastly, we ask that you please call our office, using contact information that you have independently obtained (NOT information sent with any wiring instructions) PRIOR to sending any wire to our office.
Below is a list, though not exhaustive, of red flags, warning signs, and tips:
- Pay attention to the email address that you are receiving correspondence from. Be leery of any email that you receive from a GMAIL account, YAHOO account, AOL account, etc. These are unsecure accounts and prime targets for hackers. Hackers may also attempt to replicate a secure email domain by slightly changing the spelling (i.e., @mccallnclaw.com vs. mcallnclaw.com). The differences can be subtle. It is important to pay attention to these details.
- Pay attention to the grammar, spelling, and syntax in any correspondence that you receive regarding your closing and/or any wiring instructions that you receive. Oftentimes, the emails received from the hackers contain numerous typos and poor grammar.
- If you receive unsecured wiring instructions or wiring instructions that are not password protected, purporting to be sent to you from our office, assume that the instructions are fraudulent and immediately contact our office. We will only send you wiring instructions that are secured and/or password protected. You will be prompted to contact our office for the password to access the wiring instructions.
- If you receive wiring instructions that you are even slightly suspicious of, call our office using contact information that you have independently obtained. Do not use contact information that you received with the suspicious wiring instructions. Many hackers will also attempt to send you incorrect contact information with the fraudulent wiring instructions.
- Pay attention to the name of the account holder listed on the wiring instructions. The name of the account holder on our wiring instructions should always be The McCall Law Firm. If you have wiring instructions with any other company or individual name please call our office immediately.
- If you receive an email asking you to send any wire please immediately call our office. We will never send you an email asking that you wire any funds to our office.
- Do not accept wiring instructions from any real estate agent, lender, seller, etc. If you need our wiring instructions please call our office. We will send the wiring instructions to you securely and/or password protected.
- Call our office, PRIOR to sending any wire, to confirm the wiring instructions that you have received and your final cash to close amount.
If at any point throughout this process you receive any type of correspondence that you believe to be suspicious or that just does not feel right, please pause and immediately contact our office. We are here to help you and to answer any questions that you might have.
By signing below, you agree that you have read the above warnings and disclosures. You also agree to contact The McCall Law Firm to confirm any wiring instructions that you have received PRIOR to sending any wire to our office.