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

Beware of Cybersecurity Risks When Teleworking from Hotels
October 20, 2020

Teleworking from a hotel could increase the potential of criminals stealing sensitive information. Hotels, predominantly in major U.S. cities, have begun to advertise daytime room reservations for guests seeking a quiet, distraction-free work environment. While this option may be appealing, the FBI warns that accessing sensitive information from hotel Wi-Fi poses an increased security risk over home networks. Read on for tips to minimize some of the risks associated with using hotel Wi-Fi.

Real Estate Wire Fraud is a Growing Cybercrime, but There are Ways to Prevent It
International Business Times  |  October 20, 2020

Real estate wire fraud is one of the fastest growing cybercrimes in the U.S., according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). NAR said about 11,300 people were victimized by wire fraud in the real estate and rental sector in 2018 -- a 17% jump from 2017 -- with attendant losses of more than $150 million. According to the FBI, consumers have been robbed of more than $220 million in wire fraud schemes thus far in 2020, a 13% increase from last year.

Tips for Secure Video Conferencing
October 20, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing requirements, organizations pivoted to widescale remote work and online collaboration. Video conferencing emerged as a tool for business continuity and sustained social connection. However, these tools opened the door to increased cyberattacks. Amid the unanticipated exponential growth and unprecedented popularity of these platforms, many video conferencing users have not implemented necessary security precautions—or might be unaware of the latent risks and vulnerabilities. Read on for principles and practices established by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) that individuals and organizations can follow to enhance video conference security.

How One Family’s Nightmare Illustrates the Growing Threat of Real Estate Wire Fraud
CNBC  |  October 15, 2020

Aaron Fisher wired $921,235.10, a number to this day he cannot forget, from his account at Bank of America. Two days later, the mortgage company called asking about the wire transfer. The company inquired where the money was wired to and Aaron nervously said, “Wells Fargo.” The California couple was hit by what is known as real estate wire fraud, an increasingly common crime. According to the FBI, consumers have lost more than $220 million in schemes like this thus far in 2020, a 13% increase from the same period last year.

How to Improve the Cybersecurity of Your Remote Workers
TechRepublic  |  October 14, 2020

Among the respondents in the US, Ponemon Institute reported that 63% have witnessed an increase in phishing and social engineering, 52% noted a jump in credential theft, and 50% reported a rise in account takeovers. Other types of threats that have plagued organizations this year include general malware, Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) attacks, web-based attacks, malicious insider attacks, compromised and stolen devices, and advanced malware and zero day attacks.

Avoid Being Hacked: Perform a Network Penetration Test
August 4, 2020

The the FBI has warned that fraudsters continue to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to steal money through business email compromise schemes. Want to protect your computer network from being hacked? Experts say companies should perform what’s called a “Penetration Test” to find any vulnerabilities in your network. Register for an upcoming webinar "Why You Need to Get Hacked," sponsored by FNF Family of Companies, to learn how a penetration test works and how to act on the results.

U.S. Secret Service Creates Cyber Fraud Task Force
July 14, 2020

In recognition of the growing convergence of cyber and traditional financial crimes, the U.S. Secret Service has merged two electronic and financial crimes unites into a single unified network that will focus on investigating cyber-enabled financial crimes, such as business email compromise schemes and ransomware attacks.

FBI Warns of Increased Fraud Risk
June 16, 2020

With more people using mobile banking applications during theCOVID-19 pandemic to transfer funds and cash checks, theFBI issued a warning thatcyber actors will exploit these platforms. These types of techniques an often lead to wire transfer fraud, so it’s important for title and settlement companies to educate customers about the dangers when buying a home or refinancing. Click here to access tools and resources developed by ALTA.

Louisiana Passes NAIC Model Data Security Bill
June 4, 2020

Louisiana became the latest state to pass legislation based off the model data security bill developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). In February, ALTA released its data privacy principles. The principles recommend the development of a single, national standard to help protect consumer private information uniformly and consistently while maintaining an efficient homebuying and selling experience.

Why Compliance is The 'Secret Sauce' for Fraud Prevention in Digital Marketplaces
Payments Journal  |  May 28, 2020

When creating a fraud strategy, the top concern for many organizations accepting online payments is preventing payment fraud. This makes sense, but failing to consider other types of illicit activity can be costly. In fact, most marketplace fraud spending is not related to payment fraud, but rather other forms of illicit activity that includes collusion, trade base laundering, and transaction laundering. These result in economic losses, and worse in negative reputation impact.

Getting our Security Terminology Right
March 31, 2020
Data privacy is quite different than information security and is best handled by a different department in the company. The distinction is subtle and often missed even by industry veterans.
Cybercrime Will Cost the World US$6 Trillion by the End of the Year: Study
CISO Mag  |  March 23, 2020
The global pandemic of COVID-19 will continue to have a massive impact on cyberspace. In fact, the damages caused by cybercrime is poised to double amid the Coronavirus outbreak. According to the Official Cybercrime Report published by Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime will cost the world US$6 trillion annually by 2021, up from US$3 trillion in 2015. The trend also represents one of the biggest transfers of economic wealth in history.
Cybercriminals Seek Profit in Coronavirus
New Hampshire Union Leader  |  March 16, 2020
An email seemingly from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns of new coronavirus infections and urges readers to click on a link to see a list of infections in their community. But the email actually comes from cybercriminals looking to use the crisis to their advantage.
 Young Couple Loses $775K in Home Buying Cyber Scam
NBC San Diego  |  February 26, 2020
Kevin and Nicole Noar have a tough time sleeping at night after losing their life savings while trying to buy their dream home in Carlsbad. It was Feb.14 when the couple received what they know now was a fake email from their fake real estate agent. They didn't pay attention to the sender's e-mail address and didn't notice it said ".corn" instead of ".com." ALTA has produced a short video and an infographic to help raise awareness about wire fraud. Click here to access the resources. In addition, the ALTA Registry can serve as an effective countermeasure to wire fraud. Make sure your company is confirmed. Visit the Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud and learn how to prevent this type of cybercrime.
Cloudphish Unveils New Phishing Defense Solution
January 30, 2020
Cloudphish uses the Ethereum blockchain ledger to create an externalized verification framework for emails trusted users send and receive between one another.
FDIC, OCC Warn Against ‘Heightened Cybersecurity Risk’
January 21, 2020
The FDIC and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a joint statement last week in response to the heightened cybersecurity risk facing the financial services industry and other critical business sectors.
Agencies Issue Alerts on Iranian Cyber Activity
January 14, 2020
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) issued guidance to companies on securing their computer networks.
New Year's Resolutions: Cybersecurity Goals for 2020 and Beyond
Forbes  |  January 7, 2020
In 2020, commit to a New Year's resolution of achieving a higher level of cybersecurity readiness. This process should begin with a top-down commitment to drive organizational cybersecurity maturity and improvement.