in this issue

By Lisa A. Tyler
National Escrow Administrator

Social engineering, as it is known within the telecommunications industry, is the art of utilizing conversational skills to convince unsuspecting victims into forwarding telephone calls through corporate America's telephone systems. The fraudulent schemes which have been in use by telephone service thieves for years have, in recent months, shown a drastic increase among corporate customers. The social engineers can be hackers, prison inmates or telephone solicitors. This edition contains three of the most popular schemes, read about them in "DO not call me!"

Do not stop there…the next story "STOLEN lot" is a fascinating story involving the attempted theft of a vacant lot. The thief stole the identity of the real owner and tried to sell his property out from under him. Luckily for the real owner, the transaction landed in the offices of one of our best and brightest escrow officers. She became suspicious of the seller and proceeded to uncover the crime.

I know I am starting to sound like a broken record, but this edition contains yet another FIRPTA withholding nightmare article, nightmare #6. That is right, the story in this edition is our sixth in the series and it involves another "super helpful" closer, who decided she would complete the IRS Forms 8288 and 8288–A on behalf of her customers – only to cause them more harm than good.

We love hearing from our readers that these stories are opening the eyes of our settlement agents and forcing them to implement changes when it comes to FIRPTA processing. We have also seen an increase in requests from settlement agents to review the forms prior to close, which has been helpful in identifying mistakes. That has allowed us to correct the forms prior to close, ultimately saving our reputation with our customers and preventing escrow losses. Keep reading…six more to go!


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