By Lisa A. Tyler
National Escrow Administrator
There is not a week that goes by without your National Escrow Administrators being notified by settlement agents from all over the country about hackers' attempts to have proceeds or commissions redirected from a closing. Fortunately, many of them are caught before any damage is done, but some have been successful.
We know those of you who have identified the scheme and stopped the hacker dead in their tracks are loyal readers of this publication, just like Elouise Jahnke, an Escrow Officer for Chicago Title Company in Kansas. The details of this incident are chilling and the hacker was bolder than ever before. Read "NATIONWIDE epidemic" for all the details.
Just like the story entitled "WORLD travelers" published in December 2014, another crime was nearly committed in Cape Coral, Florida had it not been for the heroic actions of one of our title issuing agents. That story involved an absentee property owner as a target for a fraudulent sale of their property. Almost 30% of all properties located in Cape Coral, Florida are held by absentee owners, who are property owners with a different home address than the property. The danger of a property owner living in a different physical location is the property can be listed and sold without their knowledge, which is the case in the story entitled "ONCE again from Cape Coral…" If you are handling transactions with absentee owners, this is a must read to raise your awareness of the red flag warnings of a fraudulent sale and to learn clues on how to stop the crime.
Typing, typing, typing…at some point I think we will look back and really miss the HUD–1 settlement statement and all its defaulted charge descriptions – especially after having to accommodate every lender by retyping the charge descriptions from the Loan Estimate onto the Closing Disclosure. Unfortunately, there is no common naming convention for charge descriptions in a residential loan transaction today, which will lead to a lot of typing on the part of the preparer of the Closing Disclosure. Read more about it in "CHARGE descriptions."
Be sure to answer the monthly CFPB question to ensure you understand the effects of the new rules in your market area!