I wouldn’t usually post a local news item on my blog, but this video is worth watching. An individual showed up to close on the house he was buying only to learn that he had wired $54,000 out to an email scammer posing as his real estate agent. Did the scammer somehow learn of the real estate contract and use the name of the agency? Some say the real estate agency has responsibility for not warning the person to look out for scammers. Real estate agencies are now, as a best practice, warning new customers that they will never be asked to wire money by the agency. The final observations on the video from a cybersecurity expert may not correctly state the law of liability, but they are food for thought for real estate agencies and law firms alike. It is important to protect confidential client information and email is increasingly problematic.
I think law firms who will never ask for electronic fund transfer should mention to new clients that they will not and law firms using electronic billing should communicate to new clients what the firm’s ebill will look like and to be alert for fake emails or fake ebills.