The McAfee & Taft Aviation Group has recently seen an increase in the number of phishing schemes relating to aviation escrow matters. Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information or data, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details, by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Typically carried out by email spoofing, instant messaging, and text messaging, phishing often directs users to enter personal information at a fake website that matches the look and feel of the legitimate site.
You may have recently received a phishing email purportedly from McAfee & Taft regarding our banking instructions. We wanted to advise you that McAfee & Taft has not and would never send out an email blast stating that its banking instructions have changed. All communication from McAfee & Taft will always come directly from an attorney or legal assistant with our group. Also, in responding to any emails, please be sure to check email address domains, as we have seen an uptick in email spoofs using similar email domain names (look for extra letters in domain names).
At McAfee & Taft, we take our role very seriously in providing best practices for any transaction, including ones involving funds. For any transaction involving funds, we suggest the following to help keep fraudsters out of the mix:
- Always have a written escrow agreement or escrow addendum to your purchase agreement that contains the contact names of all relevant parties, with address, phone numbers and email addresses, so that you can always confirm that the parties on any email traffic are legitimate.
- Always include wire transfer instructions in the escrow agreement or escrow addendum. Providing wire instructions for the seller on or immediately prior to the day of closing or changing wire instructions for the seller could cause a delay in closing the transaction due to additional verification required.
- Verify wire instructions by phone for any wire transfers, whether going into escrow or being disbursed out of escrow. Locate a telephone number for the person receiving the funds from an independent source, such as an email from that person from a totally unrelated deal, or from LinkedIn, or from a website. Do not use the phone number from the email containing the wire instructions.
We greatly appreciate the folks in the industry with whom we work, and we strive to do everything possible to protect the deals that we all work on to continue to make the world go round!