We’ve posted many times about the importance of protecting the financial security of your clients before, during and after a closing. (As well as their identity!) What you may not know or may not think about when sending emails… Hackers don’t always obviously show their presence in your email account. They gain access to your account, and then they monitor quietly in the background until an opportunity to ‘ply their devious trade’ comes along.
Details about your account (bank name, bank numbers), or the financials of your clients should never be spelled out in email. Please don’t transmit data to an attorney, the broker on the other side of the transaction, or your client that includes social security numbers, EIN#’s, wire transfer instructions, etc. This type of information is most securely shared in person or over the phone. Your fiduciary duty to protect your client should include a statement from you that they should never wire transfer, or change a wire transfer, based on an email received from you, their attorney or any other party without verbal confirmation that the instruction(s) have come from you.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t only happen ‘elsewhere’. We are aware of attorneys and REALTOR emails that have been hacked and clients who have wire transferred money to a bogus account, right here in Berkshire County. Luckily, the banks involved were suspicious and funds were saved. Can you image your client losing their deposit funds or your escrow account being in the negative for monies you are responsible for? A little caution goes a long, long way!!