Most Cook County real estate attorneys are affiliated as title agents with various title insurance companies. As such, they are now subject to a new form of fraudulent activity. Under this latest fraud, hackers are targeting consumers and stealing earnest money for upcoming transactions.
It has been reported recently that borrowers have received emails allegedly from a title agent attorney providing wire information to transmit earnest money for the transaction. The hackers apparently intercept emails from title agencies or title agent attorneys providing wire transfer information for borrowers to transmit earnest money for an upcoming transaction. The scammers then alter the title company’s bank account information with their own. The unsuspecting borrower wires their down payment directly to the fraudsters. These emails appear to be genuine and contain the title agency’s or attorney’s email information and/or logos and branding.
In these scams, the hackers monitor email traffic of the title agency, attorney or customer and gain knowledge of the timing of the upcoming transaction. While these scams target earnest money, an altered email could conceivably be used to cause misdirection of funds by any party in the transaction, including the title agent themselves. Because of this, Kreisler Law, PC will be using encrypted e-mail or facsimile transmission to send future wire transfer information.
Feel free to contact an Illinois attorney experienced in handling all aspects of real estate closings for both buyers and sellers at Kreisler Law if you have questions about sale of your Chicago area real estate or any other area of the laws governing the purchase or sale of real estate.