In today's world where identity theft and cyber-attacks are becoming more prolific, agents should be aware of how these new threats could potentially affect their clients. Recently at the Louisiana Land Title convention held in New Orleans, attorneys from title companies across Louisiana were discussing the newest threats to their clients and specific instances where these threats caused their clients an enormous amount of financial hardship. Theses instances involved hackers from outside the US hacking agent email accounts and then monitoring those email accounts for long periods of time, in one instance up to 6 months.
With access to the agent's emails, the hackers were able to get the email information for the agent's clients, in one case a seller. The correspondence between the agent, the seller and the title company was all in their hands, and they were quick to make use of it for their own immoral gain. Posing as the seller in several emails and phone calls (using voice-changing software) to the title company just before the closing, they were successfully able to direct the title company to wire the seller's proceeds to another banking account upon closing. Because they were privy to the seller's information from the agent, seller, and title company emails, they were able to avoid raising any red flags with the the title company, which remained completely unaware of the deception until several days after the closing. Unfortunately by that point the money was long gone. In that case, the seller lost over two million dollars in proceeds and while he had an array of insurance coverage, he was unable to have a successful claim on any of those for this specific theft.
The moral of this story is that agents have to be mindful of the security settings and features on their email accounts that they use for client and business correspondence. Whether it be Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc., it is important to look into the security parameters on your email account so that this horror story doesn't happen to you or your clients. If you are at all doubtful that this could happen to you or suspect about the frequency of these occurrences, visit map.norsecorp.com which shows real time attempted cyber-attacks on US Soil from around the world. It will definitely provide a new perspective on this ever-growing threat.