Bulletin: SLS2014013

Date:
August 25, 2014
To:
All Issuing Offices
RE:
CLAIMS AVOIDANCE - Continuing Wire Transfer Fraud Involving Compromised Email Accounts

Dear Associates:

We previously advised you of fraudulent schemes involving the hacking of email accounts and the misdirection of wired funds. Perpetration of this fraud is continuing.

We recently became aware of another manifestation of this scheme. In the most recent situation, an issuing office received an email towards the end of the transaction. This email was part of a longer string of ongoing emails from the same sender regarding the closing. The email advised the issuing office that the intended recipient of the funds was undergoing an audit, that their normal bank account was going to be closed, and that they would be sending new funding instructions. A separate email, from a different (but very similar) email address provided changed funding instructions.

The issuing office wired funds to the purported “new” account pursuant to the changed funding instructions. Shortly after the wired funds were received, the account holder removed all of the funds from the account. Fortunately, the funds were ultimately recovered through timely and diligent efforts by the banks that were utilized by the perpetrators.

Please be vigilant regarding last minute changes in funding instructions. A possible means of avoiding this problem would be to telephone the party whose funding instructions have purportedly been changed, to determine if in fact such change had been authorized, using the original contact information, rather than the information contained in the emailed instruction to change.

If you have any questions relating to this or other bulletins, please contact a Stewart Title Guaranty Company underwriter.

For on-line viewing of this and other bulletins, please log onto www.vuwriter.com.

THIS BULLETIN IS FURNISHED TO INFORM YOU OF CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS. AS A REMINDER, YOU ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONTENT ON VIRTUAL UNDERWRITER  AS IT EXISTS FROM TIME TO TIME AS IT APPLIES TO YOU, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER INSTRUCTIONS. OUR UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS DO NOT AUTHORIZE OUR ISSUING AGENTS TO ENGAGE IN SETTLEMENTS OR CLOSINGS ON BEHALF OF STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY. THIS BULLETIN IS NOT INTENDED TO DIRECT YOUR ESCROW OR SETTLEMENT PRACTICES OR TO CHANGE PROVISIONS OF APPLICABLE UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS. CONFIDENTIAL, PROPRIETARY, OR NONPUBLIC PERSONAL INFORMATION SHOULD NEVER BE SHARED OR DISSEMINATED EXCEPT AS ALLOWED BY LAW. IF APPLICABLE STATE LAW OR REGULATION IMPOSES ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS, YOU SHOULD CONTINUE TO COMPLY WITH THOSE REQUIREMENTS.

References

Bulletins Replaced:
None
Related Bulletins:
SLS2013012 CLAIMS AVOIDANCE - Wire Transfer Fraud Involving Compromised Email Accounts [Revised 6-02-14]
Underwriting Manual:
None
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
None