In recent public service announcements, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has raised a red flag on the alarming increase in Business Email Compromise/Email Account Compromise (BEC/EAC) scams, with a special emphasis on the retail and real estate sectors. These scams have become increasingly sophisticated and are affecting businesses and individuals who engage in legitimate fund transfers. The scammers typically compromise email accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion to carry out unauthorized fund transfers or gain sensitive information, such as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Wage and Tax Statements (W-2).
The FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center reported a 27 percent increase in BEC cases related to real estate from 2020 to 2022, but the more concerning statistic is the 72 percent increase in actual victim losses. These scams are a serious threat to all parties involved in real estate transactions – including buyers, sellers, real estate attorneys, title companies, and agents. Scammers use social engineering or computer intrusion to access professionals’ email accounts, allowing them to monitor real estate proceedings and, at the right moment, initiate fraudulent requests for changes in payment types or bank account details.
Protecting Your Business: Tips to Prevent Wire Fraud
Verify Wire Transfer Instructions: Always confirm wire transfer instructions by speaking directly with the relevant parties involved in the transaction. Don’t solely rely on email instructions.
Exercise Caution with Email Links: Be vigilant when clicking on email links. Scammers may use email addresses or web links that appear genuine but contain misspellings or foreign characters. Verify the sender’s authenticity before clicking any links.
Use Trusted Phone Numbers: Scam emails often include fake phone numbers. Ensure you call using a known, legitimate phone number or verify the company’s office number online.
Beware of Last-Minute Changes: Be suspicious of last-minute changes to the closing process. Legitimate changes should be confirmed directly with the parties involved and not solely based on email requests.
If you suspect that you’ve fallen victim to wire fraud, it’s crucial to act swiftly. Contact your bank immediately, as they may be able to halt the transaction. Regardless of the amount lost, filing a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is essential. They can assist financial institutions and law enforcement in potential recovery efforts. You may also want to seek legal counsel from an attorney, such as The Floyd Law Firm PC, for further assistance.
The Floyd Law Firm PC: Your Trusted Legal Partner
The Floyd Law Firm PC, located in Surfside Beach, South Carolina, is here to help businesses of all sizes make informed decisions and navigate legal challenges effectively. With a dedicated team of experienced attorneys, we provide guidance throughout your business’s life cycle – from making sound legal investments to ensuring compliance with laws and regulations.
Our law firm offers comprehensive legal counsel and practical solutions to a wide range of business and corporate issues. We understand the importance of protecting your rights, both in and out of the courtroom, and we’re committed to shielding your business from the potentially devastating consequences of disputes. Business disputes can drain valuable financial resources and divert your focus. We work tirelessly to provide effective and efficient resolutions, allowing you to get back to what you do best – growing your business.
In an era of rising BEC scams and increasing cybersecurity threats, partnering with a trusted legal advocate like The Floyd Law Firm PC is a wise decision. We’re here to provide the legal support and expertise you need to safeguard your business from potential harm and ensure its continued success. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you in protecting your business and addressing any legal challenges that may arise.