Fraud Happens in More than Just Credit Cards. Your Property Can Also Be at Risk!

A Story by Dee Brabham | Updated 04/6/2020 12:00pm


Not to long ago, I was sitting around the dining table just having eaten dinner with my family and I got a text from American Express asking about a charge from Chevron.  Living in Columbus, I knew we didn’t have a Chevron here but thinking my husband may be out and about and he was getting gas for his truck.  I didn’t answer the text quickly enough, so they denied the charge.  Then the phone rang.  The automated attendant asking me to verify, again thinking is was my husband, I thought it may have been.  But when he walked back in, my eyes got big as saucers.  I asked if he was at a Chevron to get gas and he told me he hadn’t left the property.  I immediately got on the phone with American Express and started the fraud process.  Luckily, they had denied the charge, then closed my account.  Both our credit cards have been in our possession.  The representative at AE said it didn’t matter, hackers will make up cards and use them as if they were their own.  So, fraud example number 1.  One you probably are very aware.

Example number 2.  I went to a closing and my seller asked about a $250 credit from the title company.  They received an email that looked very legitimate that said because they were paying cash, the title company was giving them a $250 credit towards their closing cost.  The title company nor I had seen the email or sent it to them.  It was awkward.  Wire fraud is something many of you have heard of already.  When you go to closing, the lender will wire the funds to the title company for your loan.  A buyer will either bring a check for their portion or wire the funds.  If you’re on the seller side, you will receive a check for the proceeds from closing or the title company will wire the funds to your bank.  Realtor’s no longer are the middle person in this step.  Because of fraud, extra care is given to ensure encrypted files are sent back and forth to prevent hacking of sensitive financial information.

Example number 3 is one that you may not be aware of.  Title fraud.  I visited with the Manager of a title company that I do a lot of business with and asked how best to avoid this type of fraud.  They suggested the best way for someone to protect themselves is to make sure they get title insurance when they purchase a property. For a property owner to determine if a deed or something fraudulent has been filed they would need to have a title search done. A title commitment should turn up a problem like this in the case where the property is being sold but, if there is no sale pending, a title commitment can't be issued so a title search would be the way to gain those records. You can order a title search from the time the current owner purchased the property through the present date and that search would reveal any documents recorded from the time of purchase to the present.   So, if you’re concerned or want to check this out, we can help you.  This is not a chicken little moment of the sky is falling.  And if you do have a loan against your property, your lender would be getting in touch with you.  But it’s just something to be aware of. 

Hackers are really crafty, and they think of ways to steal your identity in ways that you nor I would ever think of.  I hope this has been helpful and at the very least makes you aware of some new and improved ways of people who want to be you and not in a good way!  Cheers!

 

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