What’s next? The future of fraud prevention

Apr 6th, 2023 | By FCT

Title fraud has been a problem for years, but it’s finally getting the widespread attention it needs. As the problem worsens, consumers and real estate professionals are asking what’s being done to protect them.

FCT has been at the forefront of real estate fraud prevention for over 30 years. We’ve seen the alarming rise in title fraud first-hand, but as fraudsters advance and adapt, so do we.

Technology

It’s never been easier for fraudsters to get their hands on their targets’ personal information. Unsecured public Wi-Fi can let them intercept data as it moves to and from the cloud, and corporate data breaches can result in consumers’ identifying information published in bulk on the dark web.

Once in possession of their target’s personal information, fraudsters can use it to create convincing forgeries of their IDs.

“We’ve never seen the sophistication in the duplication of [ID] documents that we’re seeing of late,” said Daniela DeTommaso, President of FCT, in a recent industry panel. “Technology is both an aid to [fraud prevention experts] for sure, but it also enables more fraud to occur. […] From a mere visual scan, you would often not even know that this documentation wasn’t real.”

Scammers also take advantage of tech-enabled practices like remote signing to pass themselves off as their targets. But experts are using new technology to help better verify identity and prevent fraud. For instance, integration with government databases can make detecting discrepancies between IDs much easier.

Expertise

At the end of the day, fraud still comes down to fooling people and abusing their trust and goodwill. That’s why it’s so important to rely on experts when it comes to detecting and preventing fraud.

FCT has a proven record of fraud prevention, even as the level of fraud rises. In 2020 we identified and worked to prevent $96 million in suspicious residential transactions. In 2021, it was $231.9 million. In 2022, it was $350 million.

FCT is the only title insurer in Canada with Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs) on staff to catch fraud and educate about fraud prevention. With higher rates of fraud, it’s never been more important to work with the experts, who know what red flags to look out for on deals.

Protection

Homeowners and homebuyers need protection from title fraud, and the best tool for that is still title insurance. It can cover the legal fees of having a title restored, or even the amount of a mortgage, if a property is sold fraudulently.

It’s not just fraud protection—title insurance offers so much more. It covers a wide variety of risks facing owners and their homes during closing, and for as long as they, a spouse or heirs have an interest in the property.

“[Title insurance] can be bought either at the time someone buys their home, or […] at any time during their ownership,” Daniela explains. That after-the-fact protection is called an existing homeowner’s policy.

Fraud may make headlines, but the truth is that Canadian homeowners suffer losses in the hundreds of thousands from other risks every month that title insurance could have prevented.

Daniela put it best, in another interview:

“There’s no reason you shouldn’t be getting title insurance, just like you wouldn’t buy a house without property and casualty insurance,” she says. “For as long as you own your home, you’re protected. It’s literally a phone call versus being out hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Whether for fraud or one of the many other covered risks, there’s no substitute for a title insurance policy. A home is often the biggest investment someone makes in their life. Keep that investment protected into the future with the best tool for the job: residential title insurance from FCT.

 

 

Insurance by FCT Insurance Company Ltd. Services by First Canadian Title Company Limited. The services company does not provide insurance products. This material is intended to provide general information only. For specific coverage and exclusions, refer to the applicable policy. Copies are available upon request. Some products/services may vary by province. Prices and products/services offered are subject to change without notice.

 

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