May 5, 2020
Fraud - Who Is Contacting You?
Criminals are watching our real estate industry. We have warned, for example, how they are posing as participants in real estate transactions, sending instructions directing the recipients to forward funds right into the hands of the criminals. They also will try to dupe you into providing personal information or credentials in order to compromise your systems. The criminals are tricky, and we need to stay alert.

In past articles that we have published, it was noted that criminals, using information about our industry, will tailor a spoof request to a recipient using different forms of communication. We hear a lot about emails, but they use other forms of communication as well, including, but not limited to, text, fax, telephone, even mail – you name it. Recently the National Association of REALTORS ® (“NAR”) started promoting a cyber insurance product to assist with managing losses associated with cyber issues, and sure enough the criminals were watching. Posing as representatives of NAR, the criminals soon thereafter started placing phone calls to Realtors, asking them for money or personal information while referencing the cyber insurance program that NAR had just introduced. NAR had to immediately warn its members that it does not make unsolicited calls to enroll individuals in its insurance program. This is a great example of how quickly the criminals will act against our industry and how they are staying on top of new developments so they can use them against us – to dupe us.

Given the sophistication of what these criminals are able to do and the fact that they are constantly watching and changing their tactics, it is crucial that you continually educate your personnel and your customers about what is happening. Ensure that they are alert as well as cautious about any communications regardless of how they may be received. It is important to slow down, stop and think, and take the time to verify and confirm the authenticity of what is received. Be sure your personnel and your customers understand that they need to implement risk management initiatives and stay alert.

It is important that you work with your support experts to establish measures in this area, review the measures regularly, and modify when necessary. Criminals will change their tactics, so planning, testing, assessing, reviewing, and modifying your initiatives is important. If you have questions on this article, please contact Colleen M. Capossela, Esq., President of CATICPro, at (860) 513-3131.
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