FNF Family of Companies Launches Tool to Detect Seller Impersonation

May 15, 2024

The FNF Family of Companies unveiled a service aimed at reducing seller impersonation fraud by raising potential red flags as early as possible in the real estate home closing process.

Called ionFraud, the tool allows title agents to verify a myriad of property information when they open a new order, including owner name, owner’s mailing address, occupancy, assessed value and estimated mortgage balance.

“Typically, title agents must manually research several websites to obtain the information. ionFraud quickly puts that data at your fingertips,” said Joe Grealish, president of National Agency Operations for the FNF Family of Companies. “This new offering is a nationwide tool and it’s designed to be easy to use. Having the ability to potentially identify fraud early in the transaction will save our title agents valuable time and resources while protecting our real estate partners, property owners, and transaction participants.”

Also known as fake seller or vacant land fraud, seller impersonation was one of the fastest-growing scams nationwide in 2023. The trend is continuing this year. According to a recent industry survey, 73% of real estate firms reported an increase in seller impersonation attempts.

Here’s how ionFraud works. Users can generate a property ownership report, together with an automatically generated “Notice of Pending Real Estate Transaction” letter. If the title agent identifies potential warning flags for the transaction, they can send the letter to the owner of record to make the owner aware of the pending transaction.

Fidelity National Financial’s direct operations use a similar tool that has resulted in early success regarding claims and claims exposure. One FNF operation noted success “stopping several transactions each week before time and resources are spent on full searches and exams, as well as stopping seller impersonation fraud transactions from getting to the closing table.”

The new tool is available through the AgentTrax portal, which can be accessed on the FNF Family of Companies national agency website or through SoftPro360.

“All categories of fraud—especially seller impersonation attempts—will continue to be an issue for real estate professionals,” noted Tara Asquith, FNF’s senior vice president of product. “As an underwriting partner, we take pride in investing in the right resources to provide our title agents with what they need to continue to succeed. ionFraud will keep our title agents from wasting costly time and resources and help protect them from fraudulent sellers.”

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.