Over the last couple of years, there has been a growing concern about email hackers, scammers, and phishers. Here at Tallgrass Title we receive fishy-looking emails on a regular basis. Our title agents go through regular training sessions to help detect these potentially dangerous messages. In order to help you protect your clients and yourselves from these pitfalls, we would like to share some things we have learned.
Here are some red flags that usually indicate an email is not legit:
- The message contains grammar and punctuation errors. A lot of emails coming from scammers sound like they come from someone living in a foreign country. If the language does not make sense to you, don’t follow their instructions.
- The sending email is usually misspelled, even it it’s just one letter missing or added to it. This is a big one and is easily missed since it is so small. Instead of email@example.com you may see firstname.lastname@example.org. (See, it can be very difficult to detect…)
- If you hover over the sender’s email address, it may show a different address. The email may say “from: email@example.com”, but when you move your cursor over it, there is a different email address or a whole string of random letters and characters.
- Another thing that should be an immediate cause of concern is any phrase that conveys a sense of urgency. Phrases like “do this immediately” or “as soon as possible” are often used. Also, the message might ask you to do something sooner or in a different order than you expected.
Here are some actions you can take:
- Google the company name in the auto sig. Does the address under the signature match the information on the company website?
- If you ever get a feeling that an email just doesn’t sound right, call the sender. Remember that you might not want to use the phone number listed in the suspicious email. Try to use a number you already have saved from before. Most people will be reasonable about it as soon as they realize that you are trying to protect them.
- Never send a client’s contact information or other personal information by email without protecting it. For example, do not email a completed deed packet back to us with the 1099 form. If the 1099 form has been filled out, it will have your client’s Social Security Number, address, and phone. This is a good opportunity for a scammer to steal your client’s identity!
- Use our paperless closer program to send documents to us. Access it through the client login on our website, www.tallgrasstitleks.com. We are able to view the document as soon as you upload it.
- Educate your clients. Go ahead and mention to your clients that there is a concern about this. Let them know a couple of things to watch out for.
Here at Tallgrass Title we are very serious about protecting our client’s information. Something very important to remember is, we will never ever email wire instructions without password protection. If someone emails wire information to us, we will call the sender to confirm. Please be sure to contact us if you have questions or concerns about a message you have received. We are always happy to take a phone call to confirm any instructions or requests we have sent to you.