The CMLA Joins ALTA To Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud

CMLA Advocacy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Community Mortgage Lenders of America has joined forces with the American Land Title Association in the fight to stop real estate wire fraud.
The Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud aims to raise awareness of and educate homebuyers, real estate and mortgage professionals, and policy makers about the urgency of the problem; provide concrete steps that people can take to prevent the risk of fraud; and identify and empower those who have been victimized to tell their story and advocate for solutions.
Despite concerted efforts by industry stakeholders, thousands of Americans are still falling victim to the growing crime of real estate wire scam. Criminals use social engineering to trick people. We need use the same tactics to teach people.
The goal is by working together, our diverse coalition will:

·   Broaden awareness of the problem;

·   Articulate and advance solutions;

·   Achieve concrete policy objectives; and

·   Generate behavioral change.
Through the participation of the members of the coalition, each will be better equipped to:

·   Educate their employees, membership and customers on how to protect themselves from this growing crime;

·   Demonstrate leadership as being an integral part of creating a solution;

·   Amplify the reach and ultimate impact of the coalition and its objectives.
“We have a moral, ethical and possible legal obligation to educate our clients, and need to explain very firmly how important it is that they deploy best practices. In addition, we must discuss the problem, share best practices, and ensure target markets such as: the Real Estate Community, Mortgage Loan Originators, Federal Regulators, Federal Reserve, FDIC, CFPB, State Bank Regulators, State Elected Officials, FBI, Local Law Enforcement, State Attorneys General, Consumer Advocates, Prospective Homebuyers, and Homeowners all are fully aware and prepared to combat this problem,” said Justin Ailes, Senior Vice President of Policy for ALTA.
“Everyone must understand that real estate wire fraud can happen to anyone, said Ed Wallace, Executive Director of CMLA. ‘It has and will continue to happen to people just like you – in any neighborhood, throughout the country.’”
The hope is by raising awareness of and educating homebuyers, real estate and mortgage professionals about the risk and urgency of the problem, and through providing concrete steps that people can take to prevent the risk of wire fraud when buying a home, we will ensure better solutions are developed and awareness moves to the forefront of the industry.
Real estate wire fraud is a sophisticated scam targeting individuals performing wire transfer payments. The scam is growing. Criminals pose as legitimate business email accounts to conduct unauthorized transfers of funds. Current data shows:

·  The FBI’s Internet Crime Report identified 11,300 U.S. victims of real estate wire fraud in 2018, who lost a combined $149 million.

·  Between 2017 and 2018, FBI data show a 166% increase in the amount of money lost due to real estate wire fraud in the U.S.

·  Email phishing scams targeting real estate transactions exploded by 1,100% between 2015- 2017. 47% of major financial institutions reported a rise in wire fraud in the last year. 20% of Americans click on links in phishing emails that look legitimate, while 50% of Americans click on links in personalized spear phishing emails that look legitimate.
We look forward to the day this crime is contained and ultimately eliminated.

CMLAThe CMLA Joins ALTA To Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud