Protecting Settlement Services Transactions from Cyber-Crime
by Glen E. Armes
Privacy and security are high priorities at Old Republic Title. We work with title agents, lenders, real estate professionals and consumers to adhere to industry cybersecurity standards, regulations and legislation, which protect sensitive data and the real estate settlement transaction itself.
Identity theft, financial fraud and other cyber-crimes are on the rise in the financial services and insurance industries. Settlement services transactions have become a target for fraudsters, and these types of cyber-crimes continue to grow. To reduce the risk of cyberfraud, everyone involved in a real estate transaction needs to know the threats and be armed with knowledge to combat them.
Know the Threats
When fraudsters become interested in a transaction, they're looking to gain unauthorized access to nonpublic personal information (NPI) or use business email compromise (BEC) to perform fraud.
NPI is personally identifiable financial information provided by a consumer to a financial institution resulting from any transaction with the consumer or any service performed for the consumer. In the hands of fraudsters, this information is valuable and can be sold or used to commit cyber-crime.
BEC is a process fraudsters use to access emails containing NPI or conduct cyber-crime. This could lead to wire transfer fraud, where a transaction participant wires funds to an unauthorized person. Organized crime groups typically follow a process such as this:
Protecting the Settlement Services Transaction
Each participant in a transaction is responsible for ensuring fraudsters don't collect data, interrupt or insert themselves into a transaction. These are some ways parties to a transaction can help prevent interference:
Whatever your role in the real estate settlement services transaction process, stay vigilant to help reduce the risk of cyber-crime. Use the following tips to help protect transactions:
Real Estate Brokers or Realtors
Old Republic Title is committed to working with all participants of the settlement services transaction to help ensure that information is kept as secure as possible. By knowing the threats, asking questions and practicing good security hygiene, we can work together to protect transactions.
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