Arkansas Department of Insurance Warns Title Agents of Scam

October 14, 2014

Title agencies conducting business in Arkansas should be aware of a scam that has already impacted at least one Arkansas title business.

According to the state’s insurance commissioner, a purported buyer contacted a title agency and asked if it could handle an offer and acceptance, including closing on a property valued at $75,000. The agency accepted as the buyer was a referral from an escrow officer in California.

Following the receipt of a cashier's check to cover the transaction, the buyer instructed the title agency to disburse $45,000 to the seller. The next day, the agency learned the cashier's check was counterfeit.

"I urge title agencies in Arkansas to be on the lookout for this type of fraud," said Jay Bradford, the Arkansas state insurance commissioner. “Title agents should use due diligence and verify that funds provided to them are considered ‘good’ before making disbursements. In this day and age, it is easy to produce a cashier's check that looks legitimate, but turns out to be counterfeit.”

The Arkansas Insurance Department is aware of approximately 10 agencies in Arkansas that have been contacted. The common thread in each of these attempts to defraud appears to be the use of a cashier's check, a request for a partial disbursement, and a commercial property that exists, but is not for sale.

Any title agency that believes it may have been targeted should contact the Criminal Investigation Division of the Arkansas Insurance Department at 866-660-0888.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or