Subject: Wire Fraud Info
My preferred lender, Cindy Emerine of Milestone Mortgage, sent this over today. Important to be alert!!!
Hackers are gaining access to client’s email systems and/or settlement agent email systems and obtaining pertinent details of the borrower’s upcoming closing. The hacker is then sending an email to the borrower, posing as either the settlement agent or the lender and instructing the borrower that checks (cashier’s or otherwise) are no longer allowed to be brought to the closing table to facilitate the closing. Borrowers are being instructed to send funds to a bank account, so that the funds can be wired from the account for closing.
Please make sure your borrowers know to NEVER wire their money based strictly on an email. We should always advise them to independently obtain title’s phone number and call to verify the email and instructions. The independent verification is important because there have also been spoofed phone numbers in the emails associated with these schemes. Below are examples of actual emails that have been used in this scheme.
Below are actual emails:
Attached is the updated wiring instructions and the final CD confirmed by XXXXXX Title Company, the final figures are $82,487.70. can you make the wire today and please send me a confirmation receipt for records closing on Thursday.
We are currently pushing to get your deal closed on Friday 7/28/2017 and We are working on your final figures but may not have them until a day to closing as this solely depends on your lender and their attorney. Be kindly informed that Due to recent changes in government regulations covering the financial industry as well as underwriting guidelines, financial companies are instructed to require funds above $10,000.00 received from buyers in purchase transactions and borrowers in refinance transactions by electronic bank wire. Thus, we are forbidden and no longer able to accept checks prior to, or at closing for funds exceeding the aforementioned amount.
For this reason, you will be required to wire closing fund prior to settlement date because funds must be readily available in our trust account at settlement table. We usually advice our clients to wire closing funds at least 48 hours prior to closing date because experience has shown that wire transfers from certain financial institutions takes over 24 hours to hit designated account.
We hope to get the figures sooner as it may be late for you to wire closing fund if we do not get your closing statement to you on time. We have recently experienced delays in settlements due to closing funds not being available in our trust account at settlement table.
Studying your contract, I’ll predict your closing cost will be between the range of $145,000 and $150,000. This is because you have a purchase price of $430,000 and a loan commitment of $290,000 with another $4,300 down in earnest money. Going with these figures, I may suggest an immediate wire transfer of ($150,000) into our trust account. Doing this will avoid unnecessary delays in settlement when we eventually get the final figures. There may be a slight difference in the figures which can eventually be covered with a personal check and if the wired amount exceeds your final figure, You will get a reimbursement check for the difference within 48 hours after settlement. Kindly let me know what you decide to do.