Tag: wamego

Combating Current Trends in Wire Fraud

By now most of you are probably familiar with the idea of scammers trying to steal buyers’ purchase funds. Since that amount is usually several thousands of dollars it makes sense that thieves would be interested in it. It ends up being a decent-sized reward for very little effort and risk.

Recently, we were made aware of a different twist in the wire fraud trend. Lately, title companies have started seeing scammers go after earnest money deposits. Even though the amount is relatively small, multiple thefts can add up to a nice paycheck.

How do they do it? A scammer hacks into a realtor’s or a closing agent’s email and waits. Pretty soon he (or she) starts seeing messages about a sale transaction. He emails the buyer posing as the realtor or title agent with wire instructions for their earnest deposit. The contract is signed and the buyer follows the scammer’s instructions not knowing he has been scammed. Eventually someone notices that the earnest money never was deposited, but it is usually too late to stop the funds from going to the wrong place. Unfortunately, the amount is so small that it might be virtually untraceable as well.

Here are a couple of ways to help reduce the risk of it happening to your clients:

Educate your clients! As soon as a potential client contacts you, begin arming them with the tools they can use to protect themselves. Sure, you don’t want to freak anybody out, but go ahead and warn them about the potential risk and what you will do to help keep them safe. Have them read and sign wire fraud information sheets as they sign their initial offer. Explain to them that you will NEVER, EVER email them about wire information. Go ahead and give your clients the confirmed contact information of the title company they will be using so they can confirm any wire information being sent to them.

Make sure your email is secure. Do not use a free email service. No matter how annoying it is to do it, change your password often! Send all documents relating to a transaction securely. If you think about it, a contract has names, money amounts, closing date, and contact info for some of the parties. It’s a goldmine of information for any scammer who may have managed to hack into your email. So send those documents through secure portals to keep everybody safe.

Help keep funds secure. Encourage your clients to use the secure programs offered by title companies, including CertifID for wire instructions and Earnnest for digital funds transfers.

The bottom line is we must respect every transfer of funds and work to protect those funds. If we don’t try to do anything about wire fraud, or think that it only happens to someone else, we are letting criminals have their way. A small action on our part could spike a scammers gun.

Closings Continue at Tallgrass Title

At Tallgrass Title, we understand that real estate transactions must continue during the COVID -19 pandemic.  Real estate sales and transactions cannot simply stop because of this serious health scare.  Many contracts for the sale of real estate were signed prior to the global outbreak.  It is doubtful that the contract was contingent on a global pandemic.  Additionally, numerous folks began the refinance process for their home loans.  Without closing within a specified time, loan locks are in danger of expiring.  Therefore, closings continue to take place but with new added precautions and measures to support social distancing and prevent the further spread of the virus.  At the same time, many of these measures have been in place at Tallgrass Title for several years.  The purpose of this post is to share these measures with our customers and how they’re convenient and will save the parties time, pandemic or no pandemic.

  1. Early deed packets mean smooth closings. Having the Seller sign deed packets ahead of closing allows for the Seller to be absent from the closing.  The Sellers can sign their packet in front of a notary at their convenience and simply drop the packet in the drop box at either one of our locations.  The only in-person interaction that a Seller must currently have with another person is signing the deed packet.  However, notaries (as well as TGT staff) are providing ways to prevent spreading the virus further.  We are also offering several different options to assist in social distancing loan closings.  Ask one of our closing agents for options!
  2. Use of electronic signatures. With the growing use of online services, wet-ink signatures are simply not needed for most documents.  Several programs like HelloSign, DocuSign and Dotloop allow for a person to sign from their phone or computer.  Therefore, there is no need to meet face-to-face with a person to execute closing paperwork.  At Tallgrass Title, we routinely offer parties the option to sign settlement statements electronically.
  3. Use of Earnnest for delivery of earnest money. Earnnest is a program much like Venmo, Cash App or PayPal that allows for the instantaneous transfer of earnest money.  Therefore, there is no need for the physical delivery of earnest money to our office.
  4. Wiring of proceeds or delivery to bank. Tallgrass Title offers free wiring of real estate agents’ commission checks. We also offer to wire Seller’s proceeds from their transactions.  Additionally, our free courier service will deliver proceeds or commission checks to any local bank free of charge.  This means that there is no need to pick up a paper check at our office.  Ask your closing agent for details.

Our goal is to make your transaction as smooth and convenient as possible.  This includes in times of uncertainty.  As stated, most of these techniques and measures have been in place before the COVID-19 pandemic so our team is well acquainted and comfortable with their use.  Should you have any questions, our real estate professionals are happy to help. It’s our job!

Accessing Paperless Closer after Closing

With the increased social distancing brought about by the containment of the COVID-19 virus, Tallgrass Title is presenting several solutions for electronic closings.  This week, our closing agent Karissa is presenting how to access Paperless Closer following closing to retrieve any closing documents needed.

Congratulations! Your transaction has closed and managing the final signed docs does not have to be a nightmare. When closing remotely, your biggest concern should not be “how do I get a signed copy?” We can help with that!

All documents that enter our office are uploaded to Paperless Closer and made available online to only the parties who should have access. For example a Buyer’s Realtor will only have access to Buyer specific documents and a Seller’s Realtor will only have access to Seller specific documents. All parties will have access to documents that are not party specific.

Once the transaction is closed we will mark it as such, which in turn clears it out of the Open files list in your Paperless Closer. But don’t worry, you will still have access to all closed, old, and even cancelled orders.

To search files that are not currently open, log into Paperless Closer. In the Lobby, change the Status from Open to the status of your file: i.e. all, canceled, or closed

 

 

 

This will refresh the list of files you can access.

But what if I can’t find the document I need in the list?

The default in the Documents Tab allows you to view ten documents at one time. As seen in the example below, the Displaying items shows 1-10 of 26; you can switch pages using the arrows to the left or clicking on the page number you want.Once you find the document you are looking for in the list of Descriptions click on the button to open in a PDF to print or save.

Our Team here at Tallgrass Title is ready to help keep you organized. Let us keep track of the paperwork so you can focus on helping your clients make their dreams come true.

A message from Tallgrass Title re: COVID-19

Dear clients and friends,

Currently, there is uncertainty regarding how best to deal with the COVID-19/Coronavirus. We at Tallgrass Title recognize that people are utilizing social distancing techniques to protect their health and the health of others. We also recognize that some folks must continue to transact business or are contractually obligated to close their deal. In order to support both goals, we are happy to assist in the following ways:

  1. Free courier service for pickup and drop off. This includes picking up documents from your home.
  2. Electronic submission of contracts and most closing documents.
  3. Delivery of earnest money using the Earnnest web app. https://earnnest.com/
  4. Free wiring of proceeds and commission checks during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Tallgrass Title wants to ensure that you can close your important real estate transactions during these uncertain times and we are here to help! As this situation continues to develop, we acknowledge the need for increased flexibility for all parties. Please be in communication with our office on the best procedures for any upcoming closings. If you or your clients are under the weather or fearful of any contact whatsoever, we are happy to work with you in rescheduling closings as needs arise. By working together, we can keep all parties as safe as possible. Please do not hesitate to contact our offices with any questions or requests you may have.

 

– The Tallgrass Title Squad

Website Security Added at Tallgrass Title

In the digital age that we live, everything is online.  You can shop online, meet people online, even work online.  The internet has made everything from checking the time for a movie to buying groceries faster and more convenient.  However, while it is super convenient, it comes with its own risks.  Cyber crime is at a record high.  We all know how to use the internet, however, not everyone knows how to keep themselves and their information safe online.  At Tallgrass Title, we recognize the need for people to protect themselves and are constantly looking for new ways to protect our clients.  We blog, teach classes, and review online security with our clients.  However, there is always room for improvement, and we are always looking for more ways to be more secure.  We found one.  Our website document sharing portal is now secured with SSL Certificates.  These are Secure Sockets Layer protocol certificates, or SSL Certs.  Secure Sockets Layer is a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a server and a client.  Without the SSL, anything you send out of your computer is in plain text, something that is more easily read.  However, with SSL, instead of sending out plain text, an algorithm is used to determine the secret code in which the email will be sent.  So, to put it simply, we have made communication with our office encrypted.  Technology is constantly growing and evolving, as are the risks that come with using it.  We tell our clients and patrons different ways to be safe online, but now we can say: We are extra safe for you!