Showing posts tagged with: Fraud
Vigilant law firm spots and averts real estate email spoofing in time!
11Aug
Vigilant Law Firm Spots and Averts Real Estate Wire Fraud!
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 ctic.ca.

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How an alert real estate lawyer prevented fraud with a simple phone call
11Aug
How an Alert Real Estate Lawyer Prevented Fraud with a Simple Phone Call
Fraud

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 ctic.ca.

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Condo owner impersonations a
23Jun
Beware! Condo Owner Impersonations are on the Rise!
Claims

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!

CTIC.ca

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How to Avoid Social Media Fraud. The Do's and Don'ts!
25May
How to Avoid Social Media Fraud. The Do’s and Don’ts!
Fraud

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.

DO’s

  • 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.

DON’Ts

  • 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!

CTIC.ca

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A lawyer allegedly defrauded his clients resulting in a loss of more than $7.5 million
20Jan
A lawyer allegedly defrauded his clients resulting in a loss of more than $7.5 million
Industry News

A lawyer allegedly defrauded his clients resulting in a loss of more than $7.5 million

 

A Mississauga based lawyer- Shahid Malik has allegedly defrauded his clients resulting in a loss of more than $7.5 million.

Last year numerous victims retained the services of Shahid Malik, the owner of Shahid Malik Law Office in Mississauga, in order to settle real estate transactions. However, it is suspected that the funds were not allocated towards the outstanding mortgages.

Click on the link to read the full article: https://globalnews.ca/news/8513033/arrest-warrant-shahid-malik-lawyer/483483

 

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Claim Story - $450,000 Paid in Real Estate Fraud
16Nov
Claim Story – $450,000 Paid in Real Estate Fraud
Claims

Claim Story – $450,000 Paid in Real Estate Fraud

 

James and Emma used a mortgage broker, Gary, to purchase their first home. Gary had saved their information and used it to impersonate James to obtain a new mortgage from Tom, a private lender. Gary negotiated for six months of prepayments so that it wouldn’t go into default right away. While James and Emma had no idea that a mortgage was issued on their property, Gary took off with the money and left the country.

When James and Emma received a notice from Tom that a mortgage on their property was in foreclosure, they were shocked and had no idea they had been a victim of real estate fraud. Luckily, Tom was covered and was paid the entire amount of approximately $450,000 by Chicago Title. We strongly believe Gary had connections with organized crime.

While you may be covered under Title Insurance for your transactions, it is essential to be vigilant against real estate fraud. Even though you get paid for the losses incurred in a particular transaction, you still end up suffering other consequences that cannot be covered by insurance – lost investment opportunities, financial strain, loss of reputation in the industry, etc. We encourage you to keep your guard up and avoid situations that can result in such consequences.

Please note that coverage for a matter is based on the specific facts of the claim and pursuant to the terms and conditions of the particular policy issued for the transaction.

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15Nov
Impact 2021: How to Reduce the Risk of Fraud and Forgery in the Canadian Mortgage Industry
Fraud

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
15Nov
Fraud claims and tips to prevent fraud
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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Chicago Title paid $2.5M Insurance claim for corporate fraud
31Aug
Chicago Title Paid $2.5M Insurance Claim for Corporate Fraud
Claims

Chicago Title Paid $2.5M Insurance Claim for Corporate Fraud

 
In late 2020, an Ontario numbered corporation realized they had been a victim of corporate fraud when they discovered a private mortgage worth $2,500,000 was registered on the title of their commercial property and received a registered mail notice saying that their payments were in arrears.

Unbeknownst to the true corporate owner, a fraudster hi-jacked the corporation’s identity changing the records to show an innocent third party was the company’s sole director. The fraudster arranged for an equity take-out with a private lender. An innocent third party’s valid driver’s license and social insurance card were presented to the lender as identification. Note that a social insurance card is not an acceptable ID in a loan transaction. These pieces of identification contained the innocent’s true information, but the fraudster’s driver’s license photo was that of the driver. The police confirmed that the third person was not involved but declared a victim of identity theft.

The insured mortgage was found fraudulent and deleted from Title by the courts. Chicago Title paid the private lender’s claim of $2,500,000 plus legal fees, and the fraudster absconded with the funds. Since this claim, Chicago Title has tightened underwriting requirements, including a mandatory biometric identity authentication process, and is lobbying the government to increase the security in making changes in corporate records.

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Mortgage Fraud: Fake Power of Attorney_CTIC
17May
Mortgage Fraud: Fake Power of Attorney
Claims

Mortgage Fraud: Fake Power of Attorney

 

Fake Powers of Attorney (POA) have been linked to many fraud claims. Be on guard if your client asks you to close using a Power of Attorney.  Here is the story of Julian, a private lender, who was a victim of a similar fraud.

Susan* made her husband, Robert*, a Donor in a Power of Attorney (POA) when they decided to purchase a house. A few years later, the relationship ended and Robert moved out. He used the old Power of Attorney which was expired and altered it to make it appear valid in order to get a mortgage on his wife’s house. Robert approached Julian*, a private lender, to get the mortgage with this fake Power of Attorney and didn’t disclose the fact that he was not living with his wife anymore. Julian believed him and issued the mortgage without consulting with Susan. When he learned that the mortgage was issued without Susan’s knowledge or consent, he knew he had been a victim of fraud, so he contacted Chicago Title. While the case is still under litigation, Julian is happy he has a Lender’s policy with Chicago Title to cover his losses.

At Chicago Title we understand that your house is not just a house; it is your most important asset; it is where you build your dreams and create priceless memories, and it needs to be protected. For a competitive, one-time premium, an owner’s title insurance policy protects the purchaser or the existing owner from fraud and title defects.

* Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the identity of the involved parties

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