Bulletin: MU2017002

Date:
February 01, 2017
To:
All Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont Issuing Offices
RE:
CLAIMS AVOIDANCE - Cyber Fraud Schemes

Dear Associates:

We take this opportunity to remind our Agents of the need to be hypervigilant with respect to potential cyber fraud schemes that continue to plague our industry.  

In this latest scheme, an Agent received an email with respect to a payoff that it had sent, which purported to be from the Lender to whom the payoff had been directed.

  • Agent conducted a closing and sent payoff check to Lender via UPS Overnight Delivery. 
  • The next day, Agent received an email from someone claiming to be in the Loan Servicing Department of the Lender (@LenderName.net). The email included the Lender’s logo. 
  • Email stated “We cannot accept your payoff for the referenced loan, the loan is with our off site servicer and should be wired to them. (Wiring instructions were provided in the email). Please let me know I can void the check you sent us in error for $266,313.43.” 
  • Agent did not call the number in the email. The Agent called the phone number on the original payoff statement and asked to speak to the employee that sent the email only to learn that no such employee worked for that Lender. 
  • Agent also checked UPS and noticed that the UPS Delivery had not reached the Lender at the time the Agent received the fraudulent email.

In this instance, the potential fraud was averted.

In our fast paced industry, it is easy to fall prey to cyber fraud which has the potential to devastate one’s practice. It is important to slow down and pay particular attention to those tasks that may seem to be second nature. These thieves are becoming more and more sophisticated and it is important to be extra careful in your practices and to ensure that all members of your staff are properly trained.

This is a reminder never to accept or request changes to wiring instructions via email or fax. Always call your customer at a phone number that you already know (not a phone number in the suspect email) to verify wiring instructions and never leave any mail (e.g., Fedex/UPS/USPS) in an unattended area.

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

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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.