Seller impersonation fraud started to emerge as a key trend late last year, and has now escalated into one of the top threat vectors that our customers in real estate are facing today.
In a recent customer town hall webinar, we shared how to proactively protect against this fraud. A layered approach is the most prudent - including not only standardizing your process, but also incorporating employee education and supporting technologies.
As we talk to more title and settlement companies who are encountering cases of seller impersonation, we’ve been crystallizing a set of recommendations here at CertifID for you.
- Early detection will save you time and money. Use CertifID software to initiate a Collect request at the start of the transaction any time the property is non-owner occupied (e.g. vacant land, rental). Do this regardless of whether you know whether seller funds will be disbursed using a wire, so that you can use the technology to establish identity of the seller early in the process.
- Setting seller expectations is critical to having a high CertifID completion rate. Make sure that your seller welcome letter or email specifically mentions how you leverage CertifID to protect against a highly prevalent risk, and attach your co-branded pdf. Specify the timing of when to expect the CertifID request in your first customer communication; for example, "in the next week."
- You may also consider using this process and template for all transactions, because the more consistent your operations, the better your organization will be able to comply with best practice processes day in and day out. And as we all know, it’s that consistency and vigilance that enables fraud protection.
- Train your customer-facing staff on how to handle objections to sellers using CertifID, and why this is an important process.
- Consider robust next-best practices for when you can't use CertifID, such as for overseas sellers. Other technologies such as remote online notary (RON) services can be very useful for these cases, but beware of their limitations as well. For example, most validation services do only that, and may lack CertifID’s direct insurance coverage.
You can also visit this page to download a solution guide on seller impersonation. Some of our customers leverage the solution guide to start their own templates.
We hope these tips are useful in continuing to build up your teams’ fraud defenses. If you have any questions or need help with any of these steps, please reach out to your Customer Success Manager (CSM) directly.
CertifID is always here to help.
Director of Customer Operations & Strategy
Julia is a seasoned business improvement professional, with deep industry expertise in the title and real estate space. In nearly 8 years at Redfin and its title subsidiary, Title Forward, she held numerous roles encompassing strategy, program management, systems integration, training, and sales. She brings a decade of management consulting experience to CertifID, and is passionate about bringing disruptive benefits to consumers via technology.