One escrow office learned too late how important the Company's position is with regard to going paperless. The staff left the office late one evening. The cleaning crew finished around midnight and left the building. At 6:45 a.m. the next morning a neighboring tenant arrived and discovered rocks had been thrown through the glass doors of the Chicago Title office!
The neighboring tenant contacted the branch manager with the bad news. The branch manager rushed to the office and surveyed the damage. She immediately contacted the county manager, building manager and the police.
She found the glass doors broken and expected computers and the new flat screen television to be a part of the missing property. She was wrong! The only items missing were escrow files and one file containing copies of their daily deposits. As soon as the office staff arrived they began inventorying and recreating the missing files.
The office discovered 28 files were missing: 16 open, 9 closed and 3 cancelled. The staff quickly got to work sending out letters to the principals in all 28 transactions, making them aware of the security breach. They also contacted clients whose checks were included in the deposit file for the day.
They provided each principal with a coupon worth one year of CreditCheck® Basic through Experian®, which monitors their credit and notifies them if it is compromised. The notice of security breach encouraged principals' whose banking information was exposed to immediately contact their bank and tell them their account might have been compromised to prevent unauthorized access and fraudulent activity on their account.
Only one file had a Company issued, un–cashed check. The check was in the amount of $14.59 but was voided and reissued. The void eliminated the Positive Pay™ record at the bank, so the first check could never be cashed by the thieves.
Our Company takes the security of our customers' information seriously. The office has a security alarm, but it did not sound. A technician from the security company came out to test the alarm and could not determine why the system failed.
The motion detector for the side of the office the intruder was in did not activate. The alarm was set and when the staff stepped into the opposite side of the office, the alarm immediately went off. The manager sent a notice to the alarm company informing them they would be discontinuing service and using another provider.
MORAL OF THE STORY
The staff should not have entered the office until the police arrived. The criminal could have still been in the office and harmed the employees. Waiting outside for the police to arrive would have provided the police with the ability to fingerprint doors and desks to see if this criminal was already in their database.
This particular office was converted to smartVIEW more than a year ago and trained to create electronic files instead of paper files to secure customer data and to increase efficiencies in their office. There are many benefits to smartVIEW, and one of them is the ability to eliminate paper files which results in eliminating the risk of a security breach such as the one in this story.
The staff failed to embrace the smartVIEW system and to create electronic files rather than paper files. If all the files were properly uploaded into smartVIEW there would have been no files for the thieves to grab and run with. In addition, smartVIEW files are not stored on a computer hard drive. Instead, the information is stored on a server. Therefore, even if a computer was stolen the criminals still would not be able to access the electronic files.