By Lisa A. Tyler
National Escrow Administrator
Several pieces of outgoing mail were stolen from a title company. The office personnel might have never known the mail was missing, except the mail contained checks. The payees and the principals, for whom the payments were made, notified our offices the checks were never received.
In one instance the check was payable to a home warranty company and the home purchaser was attempting to call for service. The home warranty company refused to honor their contract because they never received payment. In another instance the stolen check was payable to the taxing authority. The taxing authority was attempting to penalize a seller for non–payment. And in a third instance the stolen check was for repairs to the property in the thousands of dollars and the repair company never received its money. Read "OUTGOING mail" to discover how escrow checks have become the target of theft as they — leave the escrow office never being delivered to the intended destination.
Do not be pillaged by "TONER pirates." It is an age–old game that has occurred in our industry for more than twenty–five years. An outside vendor sends an invoice for toner replacement, hoping to coax some employee into signing for delivery, when in fact they are not even an approved vendor. Argggh! Be sure to read the story to avoid being taken by these scallywags.
Another scam perpetrated on businesses just like ours is a telephone maintenance scam, where the telephone maintenance company sends an invoice for renewal of annual maintenance as if they have provided a service to the business. The invoice is really a solicitation for future maintenance service. Read "RENEWAL notice scam!" to discover how to protect the company from paying fake telephone maintenance invoices.
This edition includes the 8th nightmare story in a yearlong series intended to convince settlement agents they should not complete federal tax forms (except for the 1099–S and Form W–9) in connection with any real estate transaction. Not only do we provide the nightmare story to convince settlement agents NOT to complete the forms, but we also provide REAL solutions put into place by Fidelity's awesome Tampa, Fla. operation.