Criminals/hackers are targeting email accounts of various parties involved in real estate transactions (e.g., lawyers, title agents, mortgage brokers, real estate agents). These emails are convincing and sophisticated. Among other concerns, this has led to fraudulent wiring instructions being used to divert funds to the criminal’s bank account. These emails may look like legitimate emails from the proper party. If you receive an email regarding instructions that contains any suspicious information, do not click on any links that may be in the email and do not reply. Broker strongly recommends that Buyer, Seller, and their respective attorneys and others working on a transaction, refrain from placing any sensitive personal and financial information in an email, directly or through an email attachment. When there is a need to share Social Security numbers, bank accounts, credit card numbers, wiring instructions or similar sensitive information, Broker strongly recommends using more secure means, such as providing the information in person, over the phone, or through secure mail or package services, whenever possible.
Cardinal agents are prohibited to communicate any/all wiring instructions, they must come directly from the source of where funds are being sent to. If any Cardinal agent provides any form of wire instructions via email, they are assuming all responsibility for the validity and accuracy of this information and will be held liable in the event there is a loss incurred by the customer.
It is highly recommended that all Associates use the Wire Fraud Prevention Notice to be signed by the Buyer/Seller in all transactions where a wire transfer is being used to make deposit or final payment whether it is a lease or sale transaction. This form can be found on Form Simplicity and Transaction Desk.