It’s Friday, let’s sweep! | it happened, wire fraud


What did you do last Friday night?…

Me? Tried to stop a crook.

It happened to us. Real wire fraud. Earnest money wired from one banking institution to another. The money is gone. Good news (hardly “good” in the big picture), our broker was on two-step verification on her email and thus appears she herself did not fall culprit to a phishing scam. Bad news, the optics appear that the client’s email/computer was hacked. The timeliness of the hacker was uncanny – sending an email to the Buyer pretending to be Broker (included appropriate broker email signature) giving wire instructions for Earnest Money the same day Buyer got into contract. Broker calls the Buyer Friday afternoon to T up obtaining their Earnest Money check in the “next couple of days” only to find out “oh, we already wired the money.” Eeks. I won’t go any further here in detail – I’m no dummy – my blog is a public domain – hackers included in access.

That said, this is what I have to say…

The very best protection we can do is continue to educate the consumer on wire fraud. Thus far we’ve been able to provide proper steps in disclosure – between you and client. Let’s now strongly consider taking our education one step further – an added addendum within the Purchase & Sale – giving all parties another point in education and frankly, potentially more meaningful in timing vs. lost in the shuffle during disclosure packets.

(Note: Demco still wants the Wire Fraud disclosure to be a stand alone document with your client vs. lumped into one large disclosure packet)

Your manager will go over the details of our new addendum at your next office meeting – Wire Transfer Addendum. (WRE Form 49). This addenda has been penned by Demco and now lives within Company forms on NWMLS. I figured the best and only way towards adoption was to house this on the NWMLS. Once we see this addenda out in the field and in play it may need revisions. For now, we’ve got it – let’s use it + see how it goes…

Friday’s wire fraud is unfortunate fuel to push us getting to 100% adoption onto two-step verification with your email address. Great news, I believe our offices are just about 100% there – that was a heavy lift – THANK YOU ALL!

Real stuff. Thanks for keeping wire fraud + cyber security Top Of Mind with your clients and in your practice.

Ps, I’ll give a shout out to our tech folks who created (WORC password required for login). This was a helpful resource to all of us involved last Friday night and helpful in taking action – where we could.

I am certainly looking forward to a better Friday night tonight than last week! First though, off to Skin & Soul Tattoo – more on “the why” in the coming weeks! Hint hint: think video shoot, think marketing, think surrounding yourself with creative people is a good thing! Stand by…

By the way, did you see this muscle flexed this week? A beautiful muscle…


That was an easy media share – and one very much worth flexing…#WeAreWindermere and we are very much rooted actively within our communities. All in, with you.

Laura Smith, Co-owner | Windermere Real Estate Co.


Laura Smith


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