Hardly a day goes by without news of a new cyber attack. In fact, the number of wire fraud scams reported by title companies to the Internet Crime Complaint Center spiked 480 percent in 2016, according to the FBI.
Here are five recent wire fraud schemes involving title and settlement companies:
- Maryland, August 2017: The FBI says fraudsters used fake emails to fool a settlement company into wiring them the proceeds of the sale of a couple’s home. Amount lost: $411,548
- New York, June 2017: A judge trying to sell her apartment received an email she thought was from her real estate lawyer telling her to wire money to an account. Amount lost: $1 million.
- Washington, D.C., May 2017: The homebuyers sued the title company for the lost money, but also close to $5 million for an alleged violation of the RICO Act. The title company, which denies it had anything to do with the money going missing, said that it immediately contacted the FBI when the attack was discovered. Amount lost: $1.57 million.
- Colorado, March 2017: A couple, who lost their life savings while trying to buy their dream retirement home, has filed suit alleging that none of the companies involved in the transaction—including a title company—did enough to protect sensitive financial information. Amount lost: $272,000
- Minneapolis, September 2016: A retired couple hoping to buy a townhouse to be closer to their grandchildren received an email that looked like it came from the title company with instructions to wire money before the closing. They did. The email was fake. Amount lost: $205,000.
This article was originally published on July 22, 2017 by ALTA (Title News Online).