By Lisa A. Tyler
National Escrow Administrator
Some thieves use a mask to conceal their identity; others lurk in the shadows. The internet offers intruders the ability to do both — virtually. Hackers lurk in hidden corners of the web tracking the progress of real estate transactions waiting for just the right time to strike. Who are their targets? Everyone is their target! The hackers' end goal is to convince someone to wire transfer their funds to an alternate account.
The Company continues to receive reports describing attempts to divert proceeds, down payments and payoffs from real estate transactions. Fortunately, we continue to receive reports from our hardworking colleagues who have been successful in thwarting these attempts. All disbursements are vulnerable. Read "BREAKING and entering" for details of how Deborah Cash, from Ticor Title Company in Riverside, California, thwarted one such attempt.
The story entitled "DEAD or not" provides a detailed account of how an escrow officer discovered the seller in her transaction had died prior to closing. Everyone involved in the transaction was trying to cover it up, including the listing agent, selling agent and buyer's new lender. The escrow officer used an internet search to discover an obituary posted in the name of the seller.
Generally speaking, public records give constructive notice of matters affecting title, according to the state statutes where the land is located. Read "TITLE records" for more details on where and how the search is performed.