Information Security and Wire Transfer Fraud are critical topics for the land title insurance and settlement industry. Wire Transfer Fraud is a threat to every title operation regardless of size, location or years in business. ALTA’s priority is helping you protect your systems, plan for a rapid response in case of an incident, and prepare your employees, clients and customers to be aware and vigilant.

The ALTA Board has identified information security and wire transfer fraud as a Strategic Priority and staff are working to educate members on security threats to their businesses in both cyber and physical environments, collaborate with coalition partners to raise consumer awareness about information security and wire transfer fraud, and promote best practices for protecting personal funds and information and seek policy change that will protect consumers.

Do You . . .

  • work in the land title insurance industry?
  • use a computer, tablet or smartphone?
  • talk and email with vendors, clients, customers and consumers?

ALTA Helps You

Tools You Can Use

Get The Facts

  • 2019 Internet Crime Report. Published by the FBI's Internet Crimes Complaint Center (IC3). Take 30 minutes to read this report and discover the trends in cyber crime, which impact more than 200,000 victims every year and result in losses topping $1 billion. The report shows there were 11,677 victims of real estate wire fraud in 2019 with $221 million in losses.

Establish and Maintain Operational Readiness

  • NEW ITEM: ALTA Outgoing Wire Preparation Checklist: Use this checklist as a best practice for verifying outgoing wire information.
  • ALTA Rapid Response Plan for Wire Fraud Incidents: The standard ALTA Rapid Response Plan for Wire Fraud Incidents has been developed by the ALTA Information Security Committee. Download and customize:
  • ALTA Best Practices. The third pillar of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” provides procedures that should be taken to protect non-public personal information (NPI).
  • Federal RequirementsGramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB): This regulation requires financial institutions—companies that offer consumers financial products or services like loans, financial or investment advice, or insurance—to explain their information-sharing practices to their customers and to safeguard sensitive data. These companies include title and settlement companies, as well as law firms.
  • State RequirementsForty-seven states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have enacted legislation requiring private, governmental or educational entities to notify individuals of security breaches of information involving personally identifiable information.

Promote Employee Awareness and Preparation

Title and settlement professionals are on the front line in the battle against wire transfer fraud. Use these tools to help prepare your employees:

Be a Leader for Clients & Consumers

ALTA has developed tools to help you educate consumers about the dangers of wire fraud.

  • Wire Fraud Tips Video: Share this 1-minute video with homebuyers so they know how to protect their money.
  • ALTA Wire Fraud Video: This 2-minute video provides four tips on how consumers can protect their money and offers advice on what to do if they have been targeted by a scam. Link to this video from your website, include in your email or share on social media.
  • ALTA Wire Fraud Infographic: ALTA has produced this Rack Card explaining Wire Fraud. ALTA Members can brand the infographic with their own information at the ALTAprints website.
  • ALTA Wire Fraud PowerPoint for Consumer Education: (Member-only content) Use this presentation to educate consumers about the dangers of phishing emails and wire transfer fraud. The presentation provides information on what to do if you’ve fallen victim to a scam and also highlights 10 tips to prevent wire fraud.

Get Information to Help Your Business and Your Customers

Information Security Articles

Recent 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014

What You Can Learn From FTC Data Security Actions Against Uber, TaxSlayer
September 19, 2017
This month’s Equifax data breach that exposed an estimated 143 million credit records showed how vulnerable non-public personal information with the threat of constant cyber attacks and phishing schemes. Enforcement actions levied over the summer by the Federal Trade Commission against Uber and TaxSlayer serve as significant reminders to financial institutions—including title insurance companies and agents—about their duty to disclose data-sharing practices to customers and to safeguard private and sensitive customer information.
3 Things To Do If Phished
August 24, 2017
Title and settlement companies impersonated as part of an email phishing scam should notify customers as soon as possible, contact law enforcement, provide resources for affected consumers and review the company’s security practices, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Read on for details.
NIST Releases Cybersecurity Definitions for the Workforce
Dark Reading  |  August 7, 2017  |  Dawn Kawamoto
Employers and recruiters may have an easier time describing the type of infosec professionals they are seeking to hire or advance in their careers now that the government's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released the finalized draft version of its cybersecurity lexicon framework.
Phishing for Wire Transfers
August 1, 2017
As president and chief executive officer of Texas-based Rattikin Title Company, Jack Rattikin III has plenty of things that occupy his attention. Third-party vendor oversight and threats to the rating structure in Texas were two top-of-mind issues, but they’re not what keeps Rattikin up at night. Over the past year, a new threat has emerged to become the main reason for late-night tossing and turning for title and settlement professionals: phishing and wire fraud.
 Use This Video to Warn Consumers About Wire Fraud
July 25, 2017
To help raise awareness about wire fraud, ALTA created a 2-minute video that provides four tips on how consumers can protect their money and offers advice on what to do if they have been targeted by a scam. ALTA members are encouraged to link to this video from your website, include in email or share on social media.
How Wire Fraud Starts
July 25, 2017
Criminals begin the wire fraud process way before the attempted theft occurs. Most often, they begin with a common social engineering technique called phishing. This can take the form of email messages, website forms or phone calls to fraudulently obtain private information. Through seemingly innocuous communication, criminals trick users into inputting their information or clicking a link that allows hackers to steal login and password information.
Examples of Fraudulent Emails
July 25, 2017
Check out a few examples of the types of email you may receive from criminals attempting to steal funds for a real estate transaction.
Sample Wire Fraud Warnings You Can Use
July 25, 2017
Title professionals are encouraged to remind clients about the risk of wire fraud. Read on to learn what other companies have done and access sample warnings to put in email signature lines.
Red Flags to Protect Your Company Against Wire Fraud
July 25, 2017
Title and settlement companies can protect themselves by increasing staff awareness of these scams. Use these red flags in your training.
Information Security Bulletin: Encryption and Safeguarding Your Data
June 27, 2017
In the second quarter edition of ALTA's Infosec Advisory Bulletin, the Information Security Committee's defines the process encrypting data, why you should encrypt data and what information should be protected. In addition, the bulletin provides a list of different devices that you should consider encrypting.
Share This Consumer Alert: Beware of Wire Fraud Schemes When Buying a Home
June 22, 2017
ALTA wants to help its members make sure home purchase doesn’t get derailed by malicious wire fraud schemes attempting to steal consumer money meant for the purchase of homes. Read on for five tips to share with others and increase awareness of this threat.
 Title Companies Report 480% Increase in Wire Fraud Attacks
May 9, 2017
The number of wire fraud scams reported by title companies to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) spiked 480 percent in 2016, according to a warning issued to businesses by the FBI. Read on for strategies to protect money and data.
 DIY: How to Develop Hacker-proof Passwords
May 9, 2017
With all the publicity about cyber fraud, many people are rethinking their online security and trying to come up with hacker-proof passwords. But is there really such a thing as “hacker-proof”? At the very least, you can lengthen the odds that anyone would get access to your email, your bank account, your credit card information and your online business accounts. Here’s how.
ALTA Urges CFPB to Warn Consumers About Wire Fraud Schemes
April 6, 2017
ALTA says the alert should provide tips on how consumers can protect themselves and questions to ask to help determine if real estate professionals have procedures in place to protect their money. ALTA has educated its members over the past few years about these wire fraud schemes, but the best defense is to inform consumers about the danger.
Alert: FCC Warns of 'Can You Hear Me' Phone Scams
March 28, 2017
The Federal Communications Commission issued an alert about a scam seeking to get victims to say the word “yes” during a call and later use a recording of the response to authorize unwanted charges to accounts. The fraudulent callers impersonate representatives from organizations that provide a service and may be familiar to the person receiving the call—such as a mortgage lender—to establish a legitimate reason for trying to reach the consumer.
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