Crime Watch Program
We’re offering a $1,000 reward to Alliant National agents who help in preventing a fraudulent transaction from closing.
We created our Crime Watch Program to help raise our agents’ awareness of potential fraudulent transactions and to reduce the overall cost of claims.
View the details below and contact your State Underwriter with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a suspected forgery or fraudulent transaction. Remember that schemes evolve.
Be aware of anything that makes you feel uneasy and trust your instincts.
How to qualify for the $1,000 reward
- You must be an employee of an active Alliant National title agent in good standing.
- Only one $1,000 reward will be paid per transaction. If more than one employee assisted with the prevention of the fraud, it is up to the office’s management to decide how the reward will be divided.
- The employee must have prevented a fraudulent transaction or forgery in connection with a real estate transaction that was to be insured by Alliant National. Forgery, as defined in this program, is the falsification of a signature with an intent to defraud. As such, if the party has no intent to defraud, a reward will not be given.
- To be eligible for this payment, the discovery of the attempted fraudulent transaction must be verified by your management. The discovery must be made in a transaction that would have been written on Alliant National. If a fraud or forgery has been prevented, your office manager must send all pertinent documentation along with an Award Nomination Form to Alliant National’s State or Regional Agency Manager.
- The Award Nomination Form will then be forwarded to Alliant National’s Chief Legal Officer for verification.
- If the transaction qualifies, you will be contacted by Alliant National’s State Agency or Regional Agency Manager.
Red flags for fraud and forgery
- Property is part of a “flip” transaction
- The seller is not the owner of record
- Prior conveyance made by a quitclaim deed
- Transaction is for vacant land
- Stand-alone satisfactions – release or satisfaction of a mortgage or deed of trust recorded outside of a sale or refinance (no new mortgage, deed of trust, or deed)
- Unusually demanding parties
- Use of Power of Attorney
- Closing requires “mail-away” or remote signatures
- Discrepancies in names of parties or discrepancies in signatures on recorded documents
- Divorcing seller or borrower
- Conveyances among related parties
- Borrower receiving cash at closing
- Same notary appears on different documents in the chain of title
- Out of the ordinary requests to pay a third party who is not a secured lienholder
- Cashier’s check issued an out-of-state bank, delivered by a foreign purchaser
- Request for cash back on cashier’s check
Examples of fraudulent transactions
- The borrower or a third party provides a forged or fraudulent payoff demand with the intent of evading a full payoff of a secured lien.
- A seller delivers or records a forged or fraudulent deed from a co-tenant just prior to closing.
- An urgent demand for a refund is requested on a cashier’s check tendered for a pending transaction.
- At or before closing, a buyer or seller instructs you to make a significant, unexplained or questionable payment to a non-related third party.
How can we prevent closing fraud?
- Obtain payoff demands directly from the secured lien holders. Confirm written payoff amounts just prior to closing.
- Require proper identification and require signings to be made in your office
- Compare signatures with examples of signatures on prior recorded documents and driver’s licenses
- Make sure you have collected funds before disbursing any funds from your escrow account.
- Call the bank that issued the cashier’s check to verify the validity of the check.
- Restrict the use of Powers of Attorney.
What can we do if we suspect fraud or forgery?
- Use extraordinary care not to use words “fraud” and “forgery when communicating your concerns. Further investigation and information gathering must be made by your manager before any action is taken. Any suspicions of fraud and forgery should not be communicated to any other party without prior approval by your manager or supervisor. Not taking these precautions could result in a defamation suit against you and your office if your suspicions are unfounded.
- If you suspect fraud or forgery, do not disburse any funds (including but not limited to recording fees, transfer taxes, commissions, payments), and do not issue the title commitment, the title policy, or record any instruments until you investigate further to determine whether a fraud or forgery is taking place.
- If you cannot rule out a fraud or forgery, contact your office management and/or the Alliant National Underwriting or Claims Department immediately.