As your settlement agent is responsible for coordinating one of the largest purchases of your life, it’s important that you have full trust and confidence in the evaluation and selection process.
Identify theft seems unlikely until it happens to you! According to a 2020 survey of title agents, a third of all real estate transactions included some sort of wire fraud attempt. And with increasing home prices and a pandemic induced shift to remote, digital mortgage transactions, fraudulent activities have risen to an all-time high. Real estate cybercrimes totaled over $350M in 2021 – a whopping 64% increase over 2020 (2021 Internet Crime Report).
Why should a consumer be concerned about the person who is “settling” their loan? The attorney, title agent, escrow officer, or notary who is managing the documents and money at the closing can cause you harm. These professionals, who have varying degrees of education, training, insurance coverage, and competency, are the only people connected to your mortgage transaction who have access to the bank’s money, your money, your personal and financial information, and the important bank documents that verify and finalize your ownership of your new home.
Unfortunately, the FBI has called mortgage fraud which often takes the form of fake documents, unrecorded deeds, title fraud creating a cloud on ownership, theft of funds, wire fraud, and other issues, “the number one white-collar crime in America.” Wire fraud alone has caused billions of dollars of financial harm to banks and private citizens every year for the past several years.
Secure Insight was found in 2009 by an attorney and mortgage industry fraud experts to protect banks and consumers from fraud caused or assisted by settlement agents. It was the first company in the banking industry to identify settlement risk to consumers and insisting on a process to require attorneys, title agents, escrow officers, and notaries to submit to background checks, license and insurance verification, and ongoing screening and monitoring to deter and prevent fraud.
In the past decade, Secure Insight has vetted over 80,000 professionals and provided risk reports to banks nationwide ensuring the safe and secure closing of more than 10 million residential mortgage loans across America. The Secure Insight fraud protection process was created in collaboration with risk analysts with Lloyds of London and considered many case studies relating to fraud that occurred during the banking crisis of 2005-2008 which led to the collapse of the mortgage lending industry, millions of foreclosures, and the adoption of new federal laws to fight fraud.
As a consumer, it is incumbent upon you and your family to make sure that the attorney, title company, notary, and escrow officer involved in your loan transaction are properly incorporated, licensed, insured, and using internal controls to protect your sensitive personal and financial information. You should also make sure there are no red flags in their background due to civil and criminal litigation, liens and judgments, or other potential issues that could foreshadow potential fraudulent activity. Taking on this complex task can be overwhelming and financially impossible for most people.
At Secure Insight we do the heavy lifting for you, conducting the searches, monitoring changes, and assigning each company and professional a risk rating of low, caution, or high. Our reports give you comfort in the most emotional and probably the largest financial transaction you will ever experience. Ask for the Secure Insight rating of your attorney, title company, notary, or escrow agent. Get their report. Make an informed decision.