Resources

Ticor Fraud Insights

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

Not all cases of elder abuse are easily discernible. Many of our elderly customers are very competent and cognizant during the closing; they are aware of the transaction they are consummating and understand the implications of signing the…

An elderly customer, born in 1943, was selling his home and came to Elizabeth Garcia’s office in Kingman, Arizona, to finalize the transaction. Elizabeth had concerns about the seller’s competency, since she had received several phone calls…
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Kelly Kretchmer, with Fidelity National Title in Redding, California, dealt with a situation that quickly spiraled out of control. An elderly mother was selling her property for $150,000. The closing proceeded as normal until the…
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Diana Hoffman, Corporate Escrow Administrator, realizes that every time she purchases a new device — whether it be a robotic vacuum, her Amazon Alexa device or Amazon Ring Video Doorbell — it is always a humbling experience…
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In this issue…

Two separate homebuyers involved in two separate home purchases were scammed out of a combined total of $391,500. Both homebuyers sent wire transfers to what they thought were the trust accounts of the title companies closing their transactions…
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In September 2015, a Tucson, Arizona resident contacted local law enforcement and the FBI to report the theft of their closing funds in the amount of $189,500. The would–be home buyer had wired the closing funds to a bank account…
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Christine Champion, Escrow Officer for Lawyer’s Title in Phoenix, was working on a sale transaction. She scheduled a mobile signing agent to meet with her seller who was located in Pennsylvania. The appointment was set…
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In order to talk cyber, the world has had to create a new vernacular to describe new electronic documents and processes, especially those surrounding a real estate transaction, which has historically been paper intensive. Below are definitions to…
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As everyone in our industry knows, there are many moving parts in order to close a real estate transaction. But most people do not know all the work that is involved when a fraud or forgery is discovered in a transaction. This is a true story…
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One Thursday morning, a bank representative contacted one of our branch offices stating a wire transfer in the amount of $309,243.60 had likely been sent to a fraudster’s account. The relationship manager at the bank indicated…
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A title insurance policy is the end product of a real estate transaction, but many do not realize how much work a closing officer puts into clearing the requirements established by a title officer in order for the title officer to issue the requested…
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Title insurance is an insurance product. It is often misunderstood and deemed of little value, but not for Carol Bee. She was able to qualify for a low–interest loan from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Housing Community…
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In an incredibly bold move a woman attempted to withdraw $649,696.69 from a real estate exchanger’s bank account. The details of the story are proof that email compromise does occur, since the crime was perpetrated once a hacker learned…
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On July 24, 2019, an exchange company sent a final disbursement of remaining proceeds to a real estate exchanger after they completed the purchase of their final identified property. At the written direction of the exchanger, the funds were…
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Having an insurance regulator and an FBI agent enter your office for any reason can be unnerving, as was the case with a fee attorney in Texas. A fee attorney closes real estate transactions in the name of a title insurance company per a written…
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Anna Ortiz, a payoff clerk for Ticor Title’s payoff processing center in Riverside, California, is the fifth person in her office to prevent an illegal diversion of a wire transfer of consumer loan payoff funds…
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Forgeries, illegal deeds, missing heirs and imposters may adversely affect ownership rights in their property. Survey issues can also cause problems between neighbors. A buyer may have reviewed and approved a survey of their property prior…
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In this issue … The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has recognized the overwhelming increase in elder abuse statistics. The massive amounts of yearly losses by elders has prompted the CFPB to take actions, such as issuing reports, guidelines…

On July 9, 2019, a mobile signing agent met with an elderly woman who was selling her home in Texas. The escrow officer in Texas made all the arrangements for a mobile signer to meet with the seller because she had moved to Mississippi…

An unscrupulous associate–level real estate broker in Colorado wrote a purchase contract for the sale of his father’s home. The agreed upon sales price was $325,000. The contract, written on June 11, 2019, was an all–cash offer, closing…

In Southern California the majority of real estate transactions are closed by independent escrow companies. The title company insuring the transaction receives lender’s funds to close, pays the existing encumbrances, property taxes and the title…

Title insurance is a valuable product which protects property owners. Here are some of the values…

The articles contained in this edition make us miss the days when the biggest thing the real estate industry was combating was mortgage fraud.

I recently attended a conference where the CEO of a lending company shared a story about one of his peers: The CEO of another lending company was victimized by this crime. In the end, the CEO paid the equivalent of $1.5 million in bitcoin to the hackers, in order to restore his computer systems. Lenders must be a target, because that same week another lender reported they were successfully attacked and were held for ransom. Read “RANSOMWARE” for more details about how the crime affected one city.

Buyers all over the country are the targets of hackers attempting to steal their life savings. They strike innocent, hard-working homebuyers when they are most vulnerable: Engaged in the process of buying a home. The process of buying a home is described by buyers as, “crazy challenging.” There are a lot of “i’s” to be dotted and “t’s” to be crossed, which is why hackers are successful in their attempts. This article will demonstrate steps the Fidelity National Title Group takes to prevent this; but the thieves are still winning. Read “HOW to lose your life savings” for all the details.

Wire transfer fraud is the fastest growing real estate cybercrime in the United States. Attempts by fraudsters to divert wire transfers have not weakened. Instead, the hackers have broadened their horizons. Although homebuyers are the most common target for this fraud, anyone involved in wiring money during the closing process are vulnerable. Recently, the fraudsters have figured out how to infiltrate documents sent via eFax® systems and alter payoff demands.

Stephanie Cannon, Closing Services Manager for Title Underwriters Agency, knows all too well the schemes and scams used to succeed at this type of fraud. She tirelessly reminds her staff to be alert and to look for any discrepancies to avoid falling victim. Her efforts have paid off. Read “CLEVER wire fraud schemes” for more details.

Nationally, title insurance companies belong to the American Land Title Association (ALTA). ALTA works throughout the year on behalf of the industry. For the last several years, the ALTA has put together some terrific resources for home buyers through their Homebuyer Outreach Program (HOP). They have put together informative materials which can be shared with consumers to describe what title insurance is, since many consumers do not truly understand the value of an owner’s title insurance policy. Read more in the article entitled “AMERICAN land title association.”

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