When you have your clients name and account number on any document (like a check) you have to heavily safeguard that document according to the Massachusetts Written Information Security Act (WISP). Here’s a hint – sending a copy without blacking out the account number (redacting) to and from unsecured or encrypted email is a violation of state law.
Email is not secure and you endanger the recipient agent of the check as well. Even if the agent receiving that immediately hits “delete” that message and image stay in the world wide web backup files forever. If you want to send an offer, only transit a copy of the check securely (like using the Ziplogix platform) or deliver it in-person ASAP is clearly the BEST PRACTICE since the offer is not considered executed without the promised earnest money. And yes, we’ve had situations where the buyer’s agent wasn’t quick to get the check with the offer to the listing broker and the seller changed their mind. A non-negotiable photocopy doesn’t change that outcome.
Also, if lenders ask you to send them an un-redacted copy…. don’t do it. You are responsible to uphold the law, and claiming someone asked you to do it isn’t a defense, right?! Instead, if the lender really needs it to prove funds came from the buyer’s account, ask them for their secure upload site to send it through, or send it through Ziplogix.
Stay safe out there, emails are getting hacked everyday. Please don’t risk your client’s future (or a $10,000 fine per incident) with unsafe sending! Please also note that courts can order treble damages (triple) if it’s concluded that there was a willful or knowing violation – what will the courts say when they learn that this is the FIFTH published reminder. Thank you.