The success of wire fraud has reached unbelievable loss statistics.
Numerous articles, videos, newsletters, television broadcasts and other forms of media are constantly publicizing successful scams with the goal of spreading awareness so that we escrow officers and customers know how to recognize attempted fraud and can take the necessary precautions to avoid becoming a victim.
Fraudsters are fluid, ever-creative and extremely clever in their efforts to breach computer systems with false pretenses and technology tools to interject themselves into the electronic communications channels.
For those unsuspecting and vulnerable persons, the consequences can be devastating. Lifetime savings can be lost within seconds. And, even the most wary of individuals have been scammed.
The title and settlement industry is blessed with great people, and that makes sense because our industry is built on being helpful.
We all want a smooth, efficient transaction for everyone involved. Unfortunately, our desire to be helpful and to keep things moving makes us a prime target for wire fraud.
So, how careful do we need to be when verifying the legitimacy of an email or even an incoming phone call?
Fraudsters know about us. They know how busy we can be, and they know how to prey on our traits to overcome our data and escrow security training.
They aren’t just looking to trick us. They aren’t practical jokers. They are truly insidious “social engineers.”
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post likening email escrow fraud to Whac-A-Mole. I’d like to revisit that image for a moment.
A few years ago, scammers figured out what our industry does. Admittedly, it took them a while, but when they did, many agents started seeing a barrage of fraudulent emails. Title agents responded by tightening down on their policies and procedures.
The “mole,” however, always manages to find a weak spot where he can pop his head out of the ground. In our case, that weak spot is clearly the consumer.
Ah, the consumer…