With identified global exposure to actual or attempted losses increasing by 136% between December 2016 and May 2018, and with a median loss of $180,000 in the real estate industry, there is a reason for all real estate players, including title agents, to be concerned about falling victim to some kind of fraud. A common scam or wire fraud frequently involves hackers who fraudulently impersonate the title agency’s corporate professional by sending out emails that appear to be a company executive’s actual email, leading to money getting wired to the hackers instead of the title agency’s legitimate account. Frauds like this can be particularly devastating to small businesses who typically have fewer resources & lower ability to implement robust anti-fraud measures.
In the beginning, title agents and title insurance underwriters assumed that cybersecurity was mainly of concern for big banks and other financial institutions. However, with fraud becoming commonplace in the virtual and day to day world, real estate providers and the settlement services industry is also getting prone to wire fraud. After the recent Ransomware attack that locked up computer systems (and prevented the execution of time-sensitive mortgage transactions), the real estate industry, including title agents, have seen their businesses and reputation suffer. As a consequence of such incidences, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning about phishing and other scams directly targeting homebuyers and service providers. In the industry, either lack of internal controls, or even a lack of knowledge of potential risk areas, has resulted in the occurrence of incidences of fraud that go unseen and affects the health & reputation of the organization and the industry.
Some core responsibilities that lie with title insurance agent – protect client data from cyber threats, comply with financial regulations, abide by the specific policies levied by lenders and provide the right property information. This is important for them – to avoid business risk both for themselves and for their lender customers. Today, most of the title agents or title agencies work with third-party vendors, so their customer data is handled by the vendor and it is critical for both to protect the data from scams or wire frauds that may take place. For security purposes and for managing their own reputation in the market, partnering with a trustworthy vendor is critical for title agents.
Service providers like SLK Global Solutions, that have been servicing the banking, mortgage, and financial services industries for nearly 2 decades, clearly understand the importance of risk management and the severity of the situation. Such organizations have obtained certifications that include ISO 27001:2013 (for Information Security Management), ISO 9001:2015 (for Quality Management), SSAE – SOC 1 & 2 (financial controls), ISO 22301:2012 (business continuity) and PCI DSS V3.2 (payments), to avoid such risks and stay compliant with the ever-changing regulations.
Established in 2001, SLK Global Solutions is a business process transformation company providing technology enabled comprehensive products and solutions for the title insurance and mortgage industry. SLK Global specializes in solutions like SmartProp® property title search reports that can be delivered in 4 hours*, and SmartTrak® property tax reports backed by 100% financial guarantee, enabling title agents to partner with a single vendor for multiple real estate reporting and tracking needs. We deliver 1 Million Title searches and 70,000 Tax reports annually, including to 3 of the Top 4 U.S. National Underwriters and 100+ U.S. Title & Tax customers.