The Trusted Adviser
July 2016 | Volume 9 · Number 7

Cyber Fraud in Real Estate Escalating

Title Agents in the Crosshairs

Henry L. Shulruff photoAt the risk of repeating ourselves, this issue of The Trusted Adviser again focuses on cyber security and offers guidance to you and your staff on how to spot fraudulent email schemes. We cannot overstate the seriousness of these risks. They happen every day and if you aren't vigilant, you run the very real risk of being victimized.

We recently held three Town Hall gatherings in the Chicago area and three in downstate Illinois where we had the pleasure of meeting with some of our most active and engaged ATG agents. One of the topics we covered was protecting your law practice and your clients from theft by recognizing cyber scams and following Best Practices (i.e., setting up private domains and encrypting emails). We have concrete examples of title agents, attorneys, and lenders who have lost millions of dollars due to fraudulent emails and not having safeguards in place. Cyber criminals are targeting the title insurance industry, regulators have taken note, and we must make sure we're doing our part to prevent loss.

Cyber criminals are tuned-in to our industry and know our high-volume periods. They count on the fact that at least some of their attempts will go undetected because recipients are busy and may not notice if something's amiss, or may not take the time to jump through every precautionary hoop.

The American Land Title Association's TitleNews article, "Cyber Snipers Zero in on Industry - Title and Settlement Agents Must Be Vigilant against Onslaught of Fraudulent Email Schemes as Regulator Attention Accelerates" (June 2016) cites a number of chilling examples of incidents and attacks on title insurance agents, lenders, and other parties. The article contains two helpful bonuses:

  • Training Tips to Help Employees Spot Fraudulent Emails
  • Digital TitleNews Extra: Lifecycle of a Data Breach, Know What You Need to Do (a one-hour training session on cyber security)

Our thanks to author Jermey Yohe, his contributors, and all our friends at ALTA for this helpful information. Please read it carefully and encourage your partners and employees to do the same.

As always, we appreciate your business and your ongoing interest in ATG. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this material.


Henry L. Shulruff
ATG Senior Vice President – Business Development

[Last update: 7-28-16]

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