Real Estate Lawyers Warned of Closing Scam Using Mobile App
Real-estate lawyers are being warned about a new scam involving wired funds, mobile check deposits and real-estate closings.
The Illinois Bar Journal explains how it works. At the end of a real-estate closing, the lawyer gives the seller a check for the property. The seller leaves the office, but returns a short time later and asks if the lawyer can wire the money instead. The lawyer agrees and the buyer gives the check back to the lawyer.
What the lawyer doesn’t realize is that the buyer already deposited the check by taking a photo of it with a smartphone and using a mobile deposit app. By the time the lawyer learns his or her account has been charged twice, the seller is gone and can’t be located.
The Bar Journal first learned of the scam through an online discussion group. Ronald Trubiana, senior vice-president of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund in Chicago, told the publication that a colleague organization in Florida has also issued warnings.