When There's Millions At Stake, It's All Down To The Wire

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We don’t just streamline your transaction. We protect it.

Each year, we see more attempts to divert transactional funds directly into fraudsters bank accounts – and every year, these fraudsters get sneakier. In fact, scammers target a third of all title wire transactions, according to ALTA[i], and in 2020 alone, more than $213 million in real estate funds went directly into fraudster’s pockets through fraudulent wires[ii]

Unfortunately, when transactional parties underestimate the threat of wire fraud and neglect strict security protocols, they leave millions on the table for fraudsters to claim.

At First American Title National Commercial Services, we’re working diligently to protect our clients’ funds from fraud – and building the technology that provides even greater security for your transactions.

Our latest technology, ClarityFirst®, doesn’t just streamline your transaction; the platform’s state-of-the-art wire verification software protects your wire transaction, giving you the peace of mind you’ve come to rely on from First American.

Together, we’ve prevented a notable amount of fraud attempts on title transaction wires so far in 2021. And with your help – and your commitment to ClarityFirst – we’ll continue stopping cybercriminals in their tracks.

Safeguarding your transaction

Recently, ALTA[iii] reported a new scheme cybercriminals are using to impersonate lenders with the intent to elicit payment of mortgage payoffs. According to the Secret Service, criminals send fictitious or altered mortgage payoff statements directly to title companies. With this in mind, the Secret Service issued best practices for title transactions, which First American is strictly following:

  • Update policies and procedures to ensure proper verification of information before releasing funds.
  • Independently obtain mortgage payoff statements and confirm with verified and trusted sources.
  • Independently verify the authenticity of information included in correspondence and statements.
  • Do not rely on third parties, such as mortgagors or other transaction participants, for information.
  • Restrict wire transfers to known and previously verified accounts.
  • Pay using checks when the information cannot be independently verified.
  • Have a clear and detailed Incident Response Plan. ALTA has developed a Rapid Response Plan for Wire Fraud Incidents. Access the plan, as well as other wire fraud resources, here.

Stay Vigilant. Use ClarityFirst

While your cautiousness and attention to detail remain our best safeguard against fraud, we also encourage you to use ClarityFirst’s cutting-edge technology to securely verify all wire instructions. If you’re not already using ClarityFirst, please reach out to your First American account representative to get started.

Together, we can continue to ensure efficient, transparent and secure transactions.

[i] https://blog.alta.org/2021/04/survey-title-professionals-targeted-for-wire-fraud-in-a-third-of-all-transactions.html

[ii] https://www.nar.realtor/wire-fraud#section-180332

[iii] https://www.alta.org/news/news.cfm?20210525-Wire-Transfer-Scheme-Targets-Mortgage-Payoffs-Secret-Service-Warns