If you have arrived at this page, it's probably because you have a question about our office's policy regarding outgoing wires. You might even be saying "this is ridiculous". At the minimum, you are probably annoyed at the hoops you have to jump through and can't understand why in the World this has to be so hard. We get it. Our policies are designed to make sure the proper party gets their funds and that some criminal doesn't.
Wire fraud is an epidemic right now. This is not fanciful or a fearful overreaction. There have been actual successful frauds in our state.
Our own firm has experienced fraud attempts that fortunately have failed due to safeguards we put in place. We get fraud attempt emails on a daily basis. One especially spooky attempt happened recently. An agent’s email was hacked. The hacker interjected himself into the transaction as if he were the Seller and sent us wire instructions to send the proceeds. The email looked like it was coming from the Agent. Because of our policies, we did not fall for the attempt.
This link contains more information generated by a leading title company verifying what we are telling you. https://investors-title.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/itc-wire-fraud-protection.pdf
We require wire instructions come directly from the bank via a method we can verify. Ie if it’s a FAX, we verify the number. If an email, we call the bank directly using a number we look-up to verify the content. You may also come into the office and provide us with wire instructions. We verify your identity and have you sign a certification indicating that you have given us specific instructions. We WILL NOT accept hand delivered instructions from your agent or any one other than the account holder. These are the ONLY two methods we will accept to initiate outgoing wires. To reiterate, your bank must send us detailed instructions using a method we can verify OR you may physically come to the office and sign instructions that you give us in person.
All of what is described above is a pain in the butt. We recognize that. We also recognize that some banks refuse to send wire instructions to a third party on behalf of their customers. It should tell you something that your bank is unwilling to send wire instructions when you request it to do so-our guess is that the reasoning is that the bank is trying to avoid fraud on its end. While we recognize what a pain our policy is, we cannot change it for convenience sake. Our customers would be less than understanding if their proceeds were diverted to a crook. Then the complaint would be “why didn’t you have safeguards in place?”
We get communications from parties on an almost daily basis asking "What about [INSERT ALTERNATE METHOD]?" Please understand that we will not make exceptions to our policy. We will not accept wire instructions emailed by anyone other than the Bank itself. Not your agent. Not you personally. We will not accept a link showing wire instructions on the Internet. No other method other than what I described above will be accepted. We believe that our policy is clear and we understand that it's irritating. But it's also necessary.
Many law offices no longer offer wired proceeds as an option at all. Some are charging high wire fees designed to dissuade the client from requesting a wire. We want to make things as convenient for our customers as possible. We will continue to charge a fair price for the service and we will continue to offer wired proceeds, but ONLY if the conditions above are satisfied.
Thanks for your understanding!