Viewing posts categorised under: Fraud
Avenant Augmentation du Montant de la police. Protection accrue contre la fraude. 
Endorsement: Increased Protection Against Fraud



Recently, we received a call from Phillip and Hailey. Their Etobicoke home was sold without their permission.

The couple has been working overseas, and their home was left vacant. Last Christmas, they decided to lease it and make some additional income instead of leaving it empty. They hired a property manager, and the house was leased on February 1 and unexpectedly contracted for sale, closing on February 28.

Phillip sensed a problem when the property manager asked him to pay arrears owed on the property. He asked the property manager to collect them from the tenant. The property manager was shocked to discover that the house wasn’t occupied by the tenant they had contracted but by another person. To his surprise, the new “owner” had also renovated the property.

Phillip and Hailey had become victims of vendor impersonation fraud. The house they had purchased in 2013 for $665,000 sold for $1,700,000 in 2022, and fraudsters had walked away with $1.4 million. Previously fraudsters went after homes that were unencumbered, but not anymore. Phillips and Hailey had a secured line of credit balance on the property that did not deter the fraudsters.

Phillip worries that his 200% inflationary coverage limitation under his title insurance policy needs to be more ($665,000 x 200% = $1,330,000). He is underinsured by almost $400,000. He contacted his lawyer to check if he had made a mistake in underinsuring him, but he learned that wasn’t the case. Today, Chicago Title offers the Increased Policy Amount endorsement for this reason.

The meteoric rise in housing prices has made home equity a prime target for fraudsters. These fraudsters try to siphon this built-up equity by impersonating the true homeowner. They arrange for a mortgage to be placed on the title and disappear with the funds. With the Increased Policy Amount endorsement, you can protect your clients against loss from such fraudulent activities. This additional endorsement provides coverage for the property’s full market value at the time of the claim, less any improvements.

It is available for homeowners and purchasers to provide current market value in case of a valid claim. Phillip was disappointed he could not purchase it in 2013 but appreciated knowing the peace of mind is available for purchasers today.

It’s a reasonable 10% of the title insurance premium in a purchase transaction. In today’s market, existing homeowners may feel underinsured, and the Increased Policy Amount endorsement is also available for 20% (minimum of $75) of the title insurance premium.

Click on the link to allow your client to benefit from this additional residential property coverage. Learn more.

Call your Regional Manager to book an appointment now!

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Working Together to Prevent Fraud
Working Together to Prevent Fraud
British Columbia

Working Together to Prevent Fraud


Brian and Helen purchased their home in 2013 for $665,000. In 2021, Brian accepted a job transfer out of the country, leaving their home empty. In 2022, their home was listed on the MLS. Three weeks later, it sold and closed for $1.7M. On closing, a $300,000 balance on a secured line of credit was paid off, and fraudsters absconded with $1.4M!

Legal professionals never want their name and firm to be associated with the word fraud. For years, fraudsters have been getting away with committing fraud against innocent lenders and homeowners. Being embroiled in fraud causes undue stress for all involved and causes insurance premiums to continue to rise. Crimes surround us; we need to work diligently together to prevent fraud!

Because of our well-known expensive real estate, beautiful British Columbia is a prime international target for fraudsters. More real estate transactions increase the likelihood that the borrower or vendor will not be who they say they are.

In 2022, vendor-impersonation frauds have risen to the top as the costliest claims in Canada. How confident are you that people are who they say they are? Fake government-issued ID is very difficult to spot and very easy to get.

A strawman is a person that a criminal mastermind hires to make an appearance at the signing of documents. That individual gives the money received from the sale of a property to the mastermind. Recently, a strawman was arrested with 12 identities in his possession and a ticket out of the country dated 2 weeks from his arrival here.

Consider this the next time you close a real estate transaction:

  1. Are your homeowners exposed? Lenders mandated title insurance, but many BC homeowners have been left uninsured and exposed to loss. Always buy an owner’s policy.
  2. You act for prime real estate fraud targets; nonresidents, investors and owners of vacant homes. What will you do to protect them from vendor impersonation and prevent fraud?
  3. In your engagement letter, make it a requirement that new-to-you clients’ have their identities authenticated by a trusted third-party expert before you invest too much time in the file.
  4. Avoid wiring large amounts of money to new-to-you clients. Issue one paper cheque to the registered owners that way, you have recourse but not when you wire money.
  5. Stay educated on current fraud trends.
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Endorsements further enhance title insurance
Endorsements further enhance title insurance coverage!

Endorsements further enhance title insurance coverage!


Title insurance policies for owners and lenders address many real estate closing needs. However, some property owners or lenders may require a unique endorsement to the standard title insurance policy to cover an identified risk. An endorsement helps so the transaction can close on time and provide coverage should the identified risk require future remedy.

Claim Summary:

In 2017, the Insured purchased a brand-new home from a builder in Quebec. Chicago Title issued an owner’s policy that included an Identified Risk – Enforced Removal Endorsement to cover the insured should the owner of the adjacent property require the enforced removal of part of the interlocking paving stone driveway encroached onto the neighbouring property.

Two years later, in 2019, the neighbouring property owner sent a letter to the Insured requiring the prompt removal of the interlocking paving stones encroaching onto his property.

The Chicago Title Resolution:

The Company accepted the Insured’s tender of defence. The claim was covered under the Identified Risk – Enforced Removal Endorsement included in the owner’s policy. The issue was settled smoothly, with Chicago Title paying out the amount of $2,299.50 to cover the cost of removing the encroachment.

Title insurance from Chicago Title can provide peace of mind with the knowledge that your client’s interests are fully protected.

To learn more visit

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Vigilant law firm spots and averts real estate email spoofing in time!
Vigilant Law Firm Spots and Averts Real Estate Wire Fraud!

Vigilant law firm spots and averts real estate wire fraud!


Lawyers who work with real estate clients and wire funds as part of their practice need to be aware of email spoofing frauds that could potentially cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

While spoofing (email messages created with fraudulent sender address) affect all types of professionals, real estate lawyers are particularly vulnerable as they handle millions of dollars. Here is a close call shared from clients in the Prairies.

Fraud Summary:

A Manitoba lawyer representing a private lender received a call from the law firm representing the borrower in a private loan transaction. The borrower’s law firm received an email that appeared to be from the lawyer requesting that they advance by wire $9,000 to secure the forthcoming private loan.

The law firm knew something smelled fishy and made a call to confirm the lawyer’s email request. The lawyer denied the demand for the $9,000 wire advance, and upon closer look, the email address of the spoofer was off by one character.

Had the firm wired the $9000, the money would be gone and the loss unrecoverable.

5 Tips to Protect Yourself from Email Spoofing

  • Look out for odd URL links, unusual urgency, strange requests and last-minute changes
  • Always call to confirm payment details as the law firm did in the incident above
  • Check your junk mailbox daily and install antivirus software
  • Regularly change your passwords and use 2 step authentications where possible
  • Be vigilant and examine whether the incoming email has passed authentication processes like DKIM, DMARC and SPF
  • Link to more tips

The Chicago Title Assurance:

Real estate lawyers and notaries are encouraged to contact their Regional Managers at Chicago Title to understand better the fraud types and how to protect themselves and their clients.

To learn more visit

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How an alert real estate lawyer prevented fraud with a simple phone call
How an Alert Real Estate Lawyer Prevented Fraud with a Simple Phone Call

How an alert real estate lawyer prevented fraud with a simple phone call


Many types of real estate frauds occur in residential and commercial real estate transactions. Some of these can be fairly unassuming and can trip up even an experienced, diligent lawyer.

Here is a fraud incident reported from Saskatchewan (Yes, fraud can happen in the prairies too). It’s an indication of why lawyers should always stay on alert when it comes to protecting their client’s interests.

Fraud Summary:

A lawyer in Saskatchewan was emailed a request to re-direct funds on the day of closing a sale transaction for their client.  The email included a copy of a void cheque sent from their supposed “client.”

Fortunately, the lawyer exercised caution and picked up the phone to confirm this change in direction. As feared, it turned out, her client did not email redirection for the sale proceeds.

Of course, the client was very confused by the call, and in the end, the lawyer was thankful she trusted that little voice in her head that said something was off. She was able to save hundreds of thousands of dollars from falling into the wrong hands.

Extra due diligence is a must when dealing with real estate transactions and any last-minute changes.

The Chicago Title Assurance:

Real estate lawyers and notaries are encouraged to contact their Regional Managers at Chicago Title to understand better the fraud types and how to protect themselves and their clients.

To learn more visit

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Vigilant law firm spots and averts real estate email spoofing in time!
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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