Wire fraud is ramped and simple to commit. Wire transfer instructions are emailed to the buyer from the seller or seller’s representative. The buyer complies with the instructions to the “T”. Within hours, the seller contacts the buyer asking if the money has been sent yet. The buyer checks with their bank and is assured that the funds have been transferred out. However, when the money has still not shown up, everyone begins to retrace steps. As it turns out, the wiring instructions were bogus. The email came from an address that looked very much like that of the sellers or sellers’ representative, but it was not actually theirs and was that of a hacker.
The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas’ Marine Industry Certified Dealership Program and the Yacht Brokers Association of America’s Certified Professional Yacht Broker Program today announced a collaborative effort to further the development of their respective members. CPYB certification is the boating industry’s brand of excellence for yacht sales professionals throughout North America. The CPYB designation is the most prestigious accreditation a yacht sales professional can earn within the recreational marine industry and CPYB professionals must attain a minimum number of educational credits in order to maintain their Certification.
Social Engineering Fraud is a real and increasing risk to organizations of all types and sizes. Our insurance carrier partners and our clients continue to see a dramatic increase in attempted – and successful – attacks of this type. The hacking of personal data, devices and networks has become almost routine. To paraphrase the former FBI Director James Comey: There are two kinds of people in the US, those who have been hacked and those who have been hacked and don’t know it. In 2015, there was a 270% increase in victims of social engineering fraud over the prior year. The average amount loss per attack was $130,000 and 59% of attacks were directed at small and medium sized businesses. Money voluntarily given by individuals to criminals will most certainly continue to increase.
Recently, it came to my attention how few of us actually take full advantage of the services offered by our association, YBAA. I’m going to make an educated guess that most of you joined YBAA to advance your business. You might have joined for the educational seminars, the ability to network with your fellow brokers, the accreditation that your business gets for being part of an industry related association or for something as simple as gaining access to our professional forms. The bottom line is that by joining an organization such as YBAA you are showing the retail customer that you are a committed professional in the industry. It is my opinion that the single most important thing you can do, as a “Yacht Sales Professional,” is to acquire your CPYB certification as soon as you are eligible. The ability to pass the CPYB exam and become certified is one of, if not the most important benefit available to the members of our association. What are you waiting for?
Often a Broker, or any reasonable person, examines the legal aspects of particular situation only to be left with the feeling that they have just looked down a rabbit hole into a Lewis Carroll inspired wonderland. The reason is that frequently the law and reality have nothing to do with one another. In the reality of a broker’s world, a deal is not rejected and a contract survives even though the buyer may want a few fixes after survey. The buyer will frequently “conditionally accept” the vessel as long as this or that is fixed. The law sees this in a way which is different than the reality of brokerage. From the point of view of the law, the buyer made an offer which was accepted by the seller, at which point, there was a "meeting of the minds". The meeting of the minds included a term allowing the buyer to later reject the vessel, ending the contract, with no penalty. That is what the buyer does with the conditional acceptance when it is used in place of an addendum.
It’s terrific to get together with fellow industry professionals. I am always grateful to Vin and his staff for arranging these meetings. On this occasion, one topic really captured my attention.