Last week we were proud to announce our partnership with CertifID, a unique wire fraud prevention platform designed to safely authenticate the identities of transactional parties and share banking information securely.
Today, we’re happy to share a recent blog that was published by CertifID that still remains relevant:
Real estate wire fraud is still the fastest growing form of real estate cybercrime, with nearly $1 billion being diverted or almost diverted this fiscal year, according to the FBI and South Florida real estate news writer Kenneth Harney of The Real Deal. That’s up from just $19 million in fiscal 2016.
Harney sums up the typical scheme nicely:
“Hackers find an opening into a title company’s or realty agent’s email account, track upcoming home purchases scheduled for settlements — the pricier the better — then assume the identity of the title agency person handling the transaction,” writes Harney.
“Days or sometimes weeks before the settlement, the scammer poses as the title or escrow agent whose email accounts they’ve hijacked and instructs the home buyer to wire the funds needed to close — often hundreds of thousands of dollars, but sometimes far more — to the criminals’ own bank accounts, not the title or escrow company’s legitimate accounts. The criminals then withdraw the money and vanish.”
“It’s unbelievable how often this is happening,” Jessica Edgerton, associate counsel for the National Association of Realtors in Chicago, told Harney. And Harney notes that consumers are fighting back, hiring lawyers to sue banks, title companies and real estate agents for their negligence.
Harney gives several strategies for consumers to avoid these wire fraud schemes, including keeping an eye out for last minute changes to wiring instructions and verifying information via phone or in person. An even better idea? Get CertifID, and have confidence that your transactions are safe, and you won’t be a target of wire fraud or an angry customer lawsuit.
Interested in learning more about our partnership with CertifID? Contact us for a demo!
About the Author
Linda has more than 25 years of experience in the title insurance and real estate industry working both with underwriters and agencies in different states. She worked as a closer before becoming a leading sales person in the title industry working for several national underwriters. Linda was the Founder and CEO of Final Trac, a national release tracking company before its acquisition by reQuire. She participates on the Real Property Committee for ALTA and has an outstanding record of success in identifying business opportunities, developing strategies, and implementing actions to boost business performance. When Linda is not traveling for business she loves to explore new places with her husband. Together they have four children and two grandchildren. On the very few sunny warm days in New England, you can find her most often in the garden she created with her husband or sitting on a beach in Rhode Island.