Fraud Insights

Fraud Insightsimg

Lisa A.Tyler Bio

Publisher: Fidelity National Financial. Editor: Lisa A.Tyler | National Escrow Administrator


October 2022

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In Arizona, the title department works with all operations and brands across the state as a central processing facility. The Company has very talented title professionals searching titles and ensuring the Company's underwriting policies are adhered to. They work closely with…
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Eight sale transactions were opened at different closing locations throughout the state of Arizona, so none of the offices knew of the other transactions being processed. The documents were supposedly signed in South Africa in front of a duly authorized notary…
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Money orders issued by the United States Postal Service (USPS) are considered good funds the day after they have been deposited, unless they are fraudulent. Settlement agents who receive a USPS issued money order must review each instrument carefully. The USPS…
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Even when title companies are not the direct targets of ransomware, these attacks can have significant downstream impacts on our industry. Last year, Cloudstar — a provider of IT security solutions and cloud hosting services — was one of many companies that…
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September 2022

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This newsletter is regularly shared with FNF's customers who are, in large part, real estate agents. The National Association of REALTORS® has designated September as safety awareness month. In light of that, we are sharing our "7 safety tips for brand new agents"…
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While you have probably thought about many of the aspects of practicing real estate, the one you should start with is your personal safety. Here is how to stay safer as you go about your daily activities…
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Lisa Williams, closing coordinator for ServiceLink in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, was processing a cash-out loan. The property being used as collateral for the loan is in North Carolina and held in a life estate for two minor…
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Here are a few tips to protect against a ransomware attack. Keep in mind this list only scratches the surface…
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August 2022

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When Fraud Insights was launched in January 2006, we thought we would run out of content at some point. Here we are 200 issues later with more content than we can publish. As claims awareness and prevention are a top priority for the…
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This publication has written at least seven stories regarding the dangers of closing and insuring non-owner-occupied properties. All the articles expressed the dangers of properties that are not owner-occupied. Any time a vacant…
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Uninsured deeds are always a cause for concern. Recently one of our commercial escrow officers was working on the sale of vacant land. The buyer was purchasing the property to develop into multifamily housing. The sale was…
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Cryptocurrency is a digital currency in which transactions are verified and records maintained by a decentralized system using cryptography, rather than by a centralized authority…
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July 2022

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The Company is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Being traded on the stock exchange means the Company is held to the highest standards and must ensure we have proper measures in place to protect Company funds…
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All out-going wires sent from the Company's escrow trust accounts must be approved by two authorized bank signers before they are sent to the Operational Accounting Center (OAC). The OAC requires two more approvers to review the wire…
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Chicago Title Company opened a sale transaction involving a tract of vacant land not far from downtown Austin. The tract is located in a desirable part of Austin where there are very few vacant tracts of land. The purchase contract…
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The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has put together a comprehensive website which contains tools for victims. One of these tools is a Ransomware Guide…
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June 2022

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The seller came in person to the Chicago Title office to pick up his proceeds check. He was asked for identification; he said he did not have it with him. Chicago Title would not give him his check without proper I.D., so he left. This concerned the escrow officer…
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Courtney Duke, Escrow Officer with Chicago Title, conducted a search online and found the real property owner of the rental property. She called him immediately to verify if he was selling his property…
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Amanda Clower, Escrow Operations Director for Alamo Title in Grapevine, Texas, received a contract on a small, dilapidated trailer that was basically being treated as vacant land, selling for only $15,000. She personally knew the buyer for more than eight…
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Let us discuss some of the other elements and methods of ransomware.…
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May 2022

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Investing in real estate can be a terrific way to build wealth in America. Property values have increased, providing property owners with big returns on their investment. Owners have also found creative ways to sell their property. Some turn to the many online …
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Kelly Lobeck, escrow officer for Ticor Title in Las Vegas, has more than 20 years of experience in the escrow industry. She has worked hard to develop a great reputation. A real estate agent she knows referred one of his family members to her. He had found…
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Under an equity share agreement, an organization provides funding under a home buyer program (picture down payment assistance) or a homeowner program in exchange for an option to purchase an interest in the property in the future…
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An escrow company owner who was also a limited practice officer, which is required in her state in order to complete legal documents, maintained an escrow trust account at a national banking institution…
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Cyber criminals often partner up with other syndicates to share their hacking techniques, malware code and information they have uncovered about technology infrastructure. This helps them to develop new techniques or employ previously…
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April 2022

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A mechanic's lien is a legal claim against a property filed by a subcontractor or material supplier when they have not received payment. The lien takes priority from the date the work began, breaking the priority of any previously recorded…
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A.V.P. and National Underwriter Evie Wexler of Chicago Title Insurance Company in New York, was working on title clearance for a pending transaction. The transaction involved an apartment building in Atlanta that recently underwent a remodel…
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Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram and more give people immediate access to "news" and provide a publishing platform that is simple to use and has a wide reach…
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Malware needs an entry point to gain access to a computer or network. Cyber criminals continue to modify and improve their tactics, but generally they gain entry to a victim's network using one of three techniques…
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March 2022

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National Escrow Administration receives more than 100 inquiries per business day from a network of the most well-trained and experienced escrow settlement agents nationwide. In the article titled "Q&A with your escrow administrators" you can read…
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Want to take the guess work out of your next closing? This article reflects some of the most common questions that National Escrow Administration answers, from the hundreds of emails we receive on a daily basis…
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Using any internet connection potentially exposes the user to bad actors. Turning off the internet would be ideal, but with today's world it would be impossible to accomplish one's job. However, by using good judgment…
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These unique terms will help you to comprehend ransomware and how it works…
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February 2022

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There has been a steady rise in online scams, and fraudsters are relentless with online attacks. This is why it is important for our readers to stay vigilant and learn how to avoid newly trending scams. Most recently, there has been an increase in calls from fraudsters claiming …
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A trending telephone scam is on the horizon and is similar to the extended warranty scams being perpetrated on car owners. In the first version of this scam, fraudsters will leave a voicemail saying there has been some type of issue with your online Amazon…
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The term deed or title theft can be deceiving. With the circulation of inaccurate information, homeowners may believe that thieves can steal title to their home simply by forging a deed and recording it in the county records…
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Sheri Pickard and Brianna Ray, with Fidelity National Title of California, work in the Roseville Branch. They were working on a refinance transaction. They ordered and received the payoff demand for the borrowers' existing loan. They emailed a copy to the loan officer…
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Ransomware is a computer program or malware created by cybercriminals. It is used to infect a computer or server. It is often designed to spread across a network and target database and file servers; thus, it can quickly paralyze an entire organization…
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January 2022

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On November 29, 2021, an 87-year-old buyer from Pittsburgh, sent a wire transfer in the amount of $342,838.03 to purchase a home in a retirement community in Arizona. The funds were intended to reach Security Title Agency in Glendale, Arizona…
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Nattalie Moore, an escrow officer with Security Title Agency in Glendale, Arizona, was closing an all-cash purchase of a home for an 87-year-old buyer. Nearing the closing date, the buyer started receiving emails from someone who appeared to be …
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A public service announcement from the FBI. Originally published on December 3, 2021…
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There are many different types of cybercrime. One of these schemes is ransomware, which has impacted both public and private companies who have fallen victim to these attacks. Ransomware attacks can cripple their victims for hours, days, weeks…
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December 2021

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Wishing all our readers a healthy holiday and a prosperous New Year! As reported in previous editions, payoff statements containing fraudulent bank wire information continue to plague the real estate settlement industry. Receiving unsolicited payoff statements via e-fax or from third-party sources, such as attorneys representing the borrower, continue to be a common…
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On July 14, 2021, the investment operations contact from a large commercial lending group emailed their borrower a payoff statement in the amount of $56,941,212.03. The statement contained the payoff lender's bank wire information…
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Lori Prescott, a subescrow officer working for Fidelity's Centralized Subescrow Division in Riverside, California, was getting ready to record documents on two separate residential transactions. Both transactions were closing with the same independent escrow company…
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There are 16 states with some type of state withholding requirements or reporting for nonresident sellers. Those states are…
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November 2021

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Working from home? Getting used to a new work environment is stressful and somewhat overwhelming for settlement agents who are used to collaborating constantly with their colleagues and customers in their office space…
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The Company has put several securities in place so settlement agents who are permitted to work from home can access tools they need to conduct closings — such as email, production systems and document storage systems — using a virtual…
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InfraGard is a partnership between the FBI and members of the public. The InfraGard program provides a means for public collaboration with the FBI, resulting in the timely exchange of information. The group offers learning opportunities relevant to…
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The efficiency of computers has enhanced our productivity. Each day, there are new opportunities in our industry utilizing robots and technology. Let’s review the history of robots…
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October 2021

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Social media offers opportunity to connect online with others anywhere in the world. People young and old use social media to meet other like–minded individuals. This virtual method also provides new ways for people to be taken advantage…
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Social media can provide opportunities for fraudsters to create online identities solely for the purpose of tricking victims. They use the information posted to victims’ profile pages to “romantically” manipulate them. They move quickly…
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A real estate investor we will call by the fictitious name of “Mac Aroni” contacted Tanya Banovac, V.P. and Branch Manager of Lawyer’s Title of Arizona, Inc. He needed her assistance with the purchase of several acres of vacant land in a remote…
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Bitcoins have come a long way since we first published an article on the topic in July 2013. At the time, bitcoin was only valued at $114.50. Since then, the value has jumped to an astonishing high of $19,650 in December 2017 and down to $3,400…
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September 2021

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In 2019, we published a series of articles reinforcing the value of title insurance — our core product. Title insurance is an amazing, unique product which protects the American dream of homeownership. The national escrow administration team is… READ MORE>>

Gabriela “Gabby” Soto, Assistant Vice President, Assistant Branch Manager and Escrow Officer for Fidelity National Title Agency, was hard at work clearing title for a refinance. The Commitment for Title Insurance revealed the borrower had… READ MORE>>

Colorado residents can create an electronic version of their Colorado driver’s license or state identification card. They are available in Colorado through the mobile app, myColorado™… READ MORE>>

According to Cyber Security experts, when e–skimming occurs, an online shopper’s credit card information is skimmed from the merchandise checkout page. Then it is stored and sold in bulk on the dark web or used to make new purchases… READ MORE>>