- February 12, 2015
- All Issuing Offices
- CLAIMS AVOIDANCE - Identity Theft Scheme Involving Closing Documents
This bulletin advises you of a scheme perpetrated on issuing offices involving closing documents. The perpetrators attempt to obtain personal information about customers by posing as the customers and requesting copies of closing documents, post-closing.
It is possible that the perpetrators obtain the names of customers from recently-recorded mortgages or deeds of trust.
Following a transaction, the perpetrator impersonates a real customer and contacts the issuing office by phone or email. The perpetrator attempts to make contact with the person handling post-closing matters. The perpetrator requests copies of closing documents. These requests often include documents that contain non-public personal information about the customer, e.g., the loan application. The perpetrator may ask to have these documents emailed or faxed to them – to their bogus email address or fax number. The emails requesting this documentation may appear authentic, and may even be designed to display the real customer’s name in the “From” line. The requests for the documentation may be accompanied by a bogus urgent need.
The personal information in these documents may be used to perpetuate and compound the identity theft. With it, the perpetrators may attempt to falsely obtain credit and commit other crimes.
You may be able to avoid becoming a victim of this scheme by exercising vigilance if you are asked to provide copies of closing documents post-closing. One possible method of thwarting the scheme is to ask the person making such request to come to your office to pick up copies of the documents, and to show a current form of government-issued picture identification. Another possible method might be to verify the legitimacy of the request by contacting the customer via a previously-established means of communication – e.g., a telephone number or email address used prior to the closing.
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.