Cyber Fraud and Settlements
A decade ago, if you had asked a title company to tell you how often they received fraudulent emails or phone calls, trying to steal consumer’s money, they would have had difficulty answering. Not because there were so many attempts, but because there were so few.
In the past ten years, as we have become more comfortable with and dependent on communication and transactions on-line, and fraudsters have become more aware of what types of transactions have large amounts of money changing hands, their attempts to steal your money have significantly increased. As a matter of fact, it is now extremely rare for Key Title to go through an entire workday without receiving at least one fraudulent email.
Many of these are basic phishing emails, looking for us to divulge your information voluntarily. Others contain viruses or malware intending to give outsiders access to our system by force or deception. Here at Key, we go to great lengths to protect your information and funds, however, we are only one party to the purchase or refinance process, which means everyone else is also a potential target and victim.
During your purchase or refinance with Key Title, you will undoubtedly receive multiple emails from us and you should notice the following security warning at the bottom of each:
You will also receive emails from your lender, your realtor and possibly other participants such as an appraiser, surveyor, home inspector, etc. Every correspondence should be carefully inspected to confirm who sent it and its legitimacy. The following video provides some tips on how to protect yourself through the process.
Here are some examples of ways we have seen fraudsters attempt to steal your money:
- Email borrower pretending to be the title company and asking them to wire their settlement funds to a different account.
- Email title company pretending to be the seller and requesting seller funds be wired to a different account.
- Email title company pretending to be seller’s mortgage holder and requesting funds be wired to a different account.
Criminals are getting creative these days so, when in doubt, check it out. Honestly, just check it out anyway...