in this issue

By Lisa A. Tyler
National Escrow Administrator

Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams continue to plague our industry and the crooks are getting bolder. Recently a title agent in Florida was closing a sale transaction. The buyer was obtaining a FHA insured loan. There were a couple of loan documents the seller needed to sign. Read "FORGERY using an electronic signature" to discover the details that led up to forgery in an attempt to divert a wire transfer of seller proceeds.

Kelly Ivy, Assistant Vice President and Senior Escrow Officer for Chicago Title in Houston, Texas, received a phone call from a buyer who stated she was purchasing a property for all cash and wanted to close with Chicago Title. The woman explained there were no real estate agents involved and she would be available that afternoon to come to her office to deposit the earnest money and sign any necessary documents. Kelly agreed to act as her escrow officer and explained she would begin the process upon receipt of the earnest money. Read "FOR sale by owner (FSBO)" for more details.

Identity theft is rampant and protecting our customers' non–public information has become more critical than ever. A seller must provide the settlement agent with their U.S. T.I.N. or Social Security Number to report the sale to the IRS. The IRS guidelines state, "The transferor is required to furnish his or her TIN and to certify that the TIN is correct." So what happens when a seller refuses to provide their U.S. T.I.N.? Does this put a stop to the transaction? Read "REFUSING to provide a T.I.N." to find out.

Be sure to answer the monthly 1099—S question to make certain you understand the tips on properly reporting sales in order to avoid penalties!

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