Viewing posts categorised under: Fraud
Chicago Title Settles $102,000 in Unpaid Real Estate Taxes
Chicago Title Settles $102,000 in Unpaid Real Estate Taxes

Chicago Title Settles $102,000 in Unpaid Real Estate Taxes


Managing and scaling a business is not for the faint-hearted. Each day is accompanied by challenges and surprises. One of the ways commercial property can be affected includes sudden expenses from compliance issues and losses due to fraud or identity theft. Sometimes, this could also encompass unpaid real estate taxes that are discovered after an assessment imposed on title by a governmental authority.

Reassessed Real Estate Property Tax Notification 

This is precisely what happened with a commercial property owner recently. A commercial real estate lawyer conducted the standard due diligence that any prudent real estate solicitor would do on a purchase transaction. It was then the solicitor came across a Real Estate Tax Reassessment Notice. The Notice inadvertently indicated the basis of the reassessment was the real estate property taxes were too high, and in all probability, the purchaser would receive a refund. The solicitor took no further action, a Commercial Title Owner’s Policy was issued with no exception noted on Schedule B, and the transaction closed. A few months after closing, the insured received a Reassessment Notice relating to the unpaid real estate property taxes. The notice indicated the insured owed $102,000.00 in unpaid real estate taxes.

The Chicago Title resolution

Fortunately, the insured had a commercial owner’s title insurance policy,  and he notified Chicago Title of the Reassessment Notice and filed a claim. Since the reassessment commenced prior to the Date of Policy, Chicago Title considered this a pre-existing lien. Chicago Title accepted this claim and paid $102,000 to clear the matter from the title.

A Commercial Title Insurance Owner’s and Loan Policy provides coverage for lien resulting in unpaid real estate property taxes or assessments imposed on title by a Quai-Governmental Authority on the date of closing.

Fortify your business with a commercial owner policy

It’s always a good idea to ensure that you have a commercial owner policy to provide coverage for issues like this. The small premium can pay huge dividends.

Take advantage of our comprehensive coverage solutions. To learn more, visit

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Condo owner impersonations a
Beware! Condo Owner Impersonations are on the Rise!



In a shifting real estate market, criminals are always trying to take advantage and become increasingly sophisticated with their real estate scams, especially condo owner impersonations.

A fraudster impersonated the owner of a unit at the Montreal Canadians Tower, a condominium property in downtown Montreal, Quebec. The fraudster borrowed an amount of $358,995.98 CAD from a Private Lender, which was guaranteed by a first mortgage.

As part of this transaction, the Insured obtained a lender’s policy underwritten by Chicago Title Insurance Company. The fraudster provided a false ID to the notary who transacted the mortgage.

Chicago Title paid $358,995.98 to the insured lender and an additional $31,032.00 CAD in legal fees. The homeowner regained their unencumbered condo unit. Without title insurance, the end of the story would have been very different.

Stay one step ahead of fraudsters

At some point in your life, you will encounter fraudulent activities. It’s not a matter of if; it is only a matter of when.  Fraudsters are an increasing threat worldwide, and it is not restricted to just the real estate industry. What is worrisome is that the criminals have improved their tactics. This is why you need to have a good understanding of how they work and how to spot fraud before it’s too late.

The good news? At Chicago Title, we are proactive at spotting fraud warning signs and at protecting our clients. We have made it our company mission to create processes and safeguard protocols to ensure a fair and accurate real estate transaction each time.

Choose wisely

We continue to increase awareness of fraud trends through educational resources that help lawyers, notaries, their staff and clients. Choose wisely and call us now for your free consultation.

We are here to help. For more information, contact your Regional Manager today!

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Understanding title insurance - blog post resize
Understanding Title Insurance

Understanding Title Insurance


Buying a home can be an emotional, exciting journey and probably the single largest investment you could make in your life. Understanding title insurance can help you protect your property’s title.

Do note that when buying a home, many hidden issues may spring up after you purchase it. This is why it is important to get an owner’s title insurance policy as it protects you from legal title discrepancies and other fraud issues. Here are other reasons why understanding title insurance is vital to protecting your home.

Everyone has a checklist of things they look for when buying a house. This could include a quiet tree-lined street, a neighbourhood with good schools and others. These are all important things to consider but what about the property’s history?

Did you know there could be issues like pre-existing liens, easements, zoning violations, outstanding work orders, forged identity and more? These issues could cause confusion over who has right to the property. And the last thing you want as a homeowner is a big confusion that puts your property in jeopardy.

Here is where title insurance comes in when you buy or refinance a home. Title insurance confirms there’s no dispute over who has rights to the property.

Peace of mind with a one-time fee!

Unlike homeowners’ insurance where you pay a monthly premium, title insurance only requires a  one-time fee to protect you and your property. Title insurance gives you and your client peace of mind that any disputes or restrictions that may arise are resolved or known.

Regular title insurance covers you against losses from unknown title defects that could impact your property ownership, title fraud, unforeseen mistakes in public records and surveys, issues regarding encroachment and more.

Title insurance from Chicago Title can provide peace of mind with the knowledge that your client’s interests are fully protected. To learn more get in touch with us at Chicago Title today.

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How to Avoid Social Media Fraud. The Do's and Don'ts!
How to Avoid Social Media Fraud. The Do’s and Don’ts!

How to Avoid Social Media Fraud. The Do’s and Don’ts!


The month of June is recognized as Internet Safety Month the world over. Online fraud shows no sign of abating and every day, thousands of people fall victim to cybercrime. The worldwide web is definitely a tempting ground for fraudsters to commit fraud and they are getting more sophisticated with their ways.

This is why it’s important to stay extra vigilant as you perform online transactions, especially those that involve the sharing of personal and financial information on multiple social media channels. It is up to each one of us to assume personal responsibility, manage our network and regulate privacy settings on most social medial channels.

Of course, it goes much beyond that. In recognition of June Internet Safety Month, here are some important Dos and Don’ts to protect yourself from online fraud.


  • Update your privacy settings regularly on your social media accounts. Use options to choose who is allowed to see your posts. And in addition, check your credit score and bank accounts regularly.
  • Set up two-factor authentication to access any account. This ensures that only you can access an account even if someone else gets hold of your password. As a rule, you can have different passwords for all your accounts.
  • Stay away from strangers who try to forge close bonds on social media. If you get a request from strangers for money, immediately cut off the contact.
  • Call up a friend or contact or meet them in person if you get an online message from them for urgent money or a lucrative investment opportunity to avoid social media fraud. Chances are their account too may have been hacked.
  • Think twice before you post a message on social media and don’t share your whereabouts easily. This could give hackers access to your personal information for identity theft. Worse, vacation pictures can send out signals to intruders that your home is empty.


  • Mention your home address or other personal information in your social media public profile.
  • Accept friend requests from strangers or say yes to suspicious links, even if the posts come from people you know to avoid social media fraud.
  • Consent to targeted advertising. This also prevents apps from accessing your profile information. Avoid social media quizzes or surveys that could soon ask personal questions, even ones that seem harmless.
  • Download or install apps or software from social networking sites. Lookup sites like VirusTotal or Google Safe browsing to see if a link carries a phishing or malware risk.
  • Access social media sites while using a public Wi-Fi network. Some public networks may not be secured. This gives scammers ample opportunities to intercept personal data associated with your accounts. Especially avoid making any online financial transactions or transferring sensitive information.

How to Protect Yourself

At Chicago Title, we offer multi-layered ID verification, which can verify the identity of a person against various data sources. For more information, contact your Regional Manager today!

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Impact 2021: How to Reduce the Risk of Fraud and Forgery in the Canadian Mortgage Industry

Impact 2021: How to Reduce the Risk of Fraud and Forgery in the Canadian Mortgage Industry


At the recent National Conference of Canadas Credit Union Association, our Vice President of National Underwriting Counsel Brigitte Beauchesne spoke on “How to reduce the risk of Fraud and Forgery in the Canadian Mortgage Industry.”  

Fraud and Forgery are always a hot topic for discussion in several industries, especially in the Canadian mortgage industry. As a company, we are constantly discussing this topic – strategizing and exploring ways to help our clients conduct safe and verified transactions. 

Watch the full video presentation on reducing the risk of Fraud and Forgery.

In her presentation, she identified the common types of scams as theft and fraud. Fraud is the act of obtaining any property, money, valuable security, or service through falsehood. The difference between fraud and theft is that while there is consent for fraud, there is no consent for theft, but it might be obtained by deceit or under pretenses.  

She also explored the types of fraud in the industry, which include; Identity fraud and Mortgage fraud. Identity fraud occurs when someone uses another person’s personal identifying information like their name, identifying number, or credit card number without their permission to commit fraud or other crimes. Mortgage fraud is the process of fraudulently putting a house deed in another person’s name.    

There are several ways to spot a mortgage fraud – pressure to act immediately, discrepancies in the ID presented vs. the personality of the supposed owner, checking for typos in the names and addresses on the ID. She emphasized that real estate lawyers should not heavily rely on third-party verification services; one should conduct their verification knowing that safer transactions are always better than faster transactions to avoid and reduce the risk of fraud.   

Watch the full video presentation on reducing the risk of Fraud and Forgery.

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Fraud Prevention Tips
Fraud claims and tips to prevent fraud

Fraud claims and tips to prevent fraud


Chicago Title takes fraud seriously, and as your partners in the fight against fraud, below are some fraud claims that we have received in the past and some helpful tips to prevent fraud. 

The client was out of $200,000 when a firm’s email account was hacked, and it acted on a fraudulent request to redirect funds!

We strongly recommend that you:

  • Check email addresses on all material correspondence and match to the exact trusted email given in the client’s onboarding.
  • DO NOT accept an email to re-direct funds without the Law firm first making a call to a trusted phone number for the borrower.
  • Get verbal confirmation of specific details for the redirection of funds and ensure your lender is on side.

A lady refinanced her sister’s house for $250,000, and the money was lost! It turned out to be a case of identity theft!

  • A simple check of a government-issued ID is not enough to keep yourself from being embroiled in a fraud case.
  • Before investing your precious time in a file for a non-client, authenticate their identity with Chicago Title’s Identity Verification Service.

An innocent business owner is embroiled in a $1,500,000 mortgage fraud. The law firm is under investigation for its business practices as fraudsters preyed on the firm’s lack of attention to detail and weak security measures.

We strongly recommend that you:

  • Change your password monthly.
  • Utilize two-step authentication services for an extra layer of protection.

Over a million dollars gone in a fraudulent sale!  How confident are you in handing over a million dollars to a non-client who has come to you to act on the sale of their home, which is mortgage free? The cost of being drawn into a fraud is your time and self-confidence.

We strongly recommend that you:

  • Do not trust someone just because your client refers them to you.
  • Use Chicago Title’s ID verification service when acting for a non-client.

A firm redirected $700,000 into a fraudster’s account instead of the homeowner’s account because of a phishing attack. The law clerk clicked on an email link which download spyware onto the firm’s computer. 

We strongly recommend that you:

  • Check your junk mail daily and investigate why items are there.
  • Use two-step authentication to improve your security.
  • Verify the sender’s email address and do not click on links or attachments in unsolicited emails.

Additional Useful resources:

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