11,300 victims & $150 Million in losses in 2018 ! A 166% year on year increase in losses to fraud! And with FBI estimating only 12-15% cases being reported, this may just be the tip of the iceberg. Source: ALTA
Wire transfer fraud continues to be an ever increasing threat to every title operation regardless of its size, location or number of years in business and continues to be one of the fastest growing cyber-crimes in the country. Going into 2020, we can expect the fraudsters to make even more headlines in the real estate and title industry. Wire fraud occurs when an individual is tricked into sending money via wire transfer to a fraudster usually pretending as a valid recipients – like a title agent.
Fraudsters are getting better at disguising themselves as legitimate entities and because of that we now see an increase in more sophisticated fraud attempts including:
- Emails with authentic-looking signatures of the entity
- Emails with multiple people posing as a title company or a lender
- Phone, text with reference to the fake emails
Want to know all about the fight against wire-fraud in the real estate industry? Read our blog for more details.
Some methods used by fraudsters to get personal credentials and passwords include:
- Malware: Designed to get access to damage or disrupt a computer without the knowledge of the owner
- Phishing: A scam carried out by unsolicited emails that pose as legitimate sites to lure victims to provide personal and financial information
- Accessing email accounts via spam or a computer virus.
ALTA has launched the Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud in 2019 & provides education about the growing threat of these scams and offers tips to help consumers protect their money during the home-buying process.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offers many tips for you stay protected against such wire transfer fraud. Some of them are:
- Using multi-factor authentication on email accounts
- Ensuring direct communication with the buyers especially when the transaction is set to close
- Being aware of emails with information about, say, wire transfer updates
One of the ways title agents ensure safety and security is by working only with vendors and suppliers who have the required certifications like ISO 27001:2013 (for Information Security Management), SSAE – SOC 1 & 2 (financial controls), etc. which ensures that secure and robust information security and risk management processes and infrastructure is already in place.
Do let us know what you think about the blog and what steps has your company taken to avoid wire fraud. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org to know more about how we can help your title insurance operations become safer and more efficient.