Today, New England’s leading title insurance company, CATIC, issued a notice to its agents/attorneys warning them of an on-going scheme involving fraudulent bank checks. According to CATIC,
several agents have received cashier’s checks drawn on U.S. bank accounts for what appear to be legitimate cash offers for lower than asking price. The checks are electronically signed and, most importantly, are for an amount in excess of the required deposit. The party posing as the buyer then requests a refund for the excess. While this fraud scheme is not necessarily new or unique, CATIC is receiving reports of this scheme recurring in the New England market. Accordingly, we advise our agents to remain vigilant, cautious, and aware, particularly when dealing with cash transactions that are out of the ordinary.
The agency then advises its agents to be on the look out for:
- A cash buyer is not personally present and may correspond only via email;
- The purported buyer sends a cashier’s check for a sum greater than the amount needed for the deposit or closing; and
- The purported buyer requests a check or a wire for all or a portion of the excess.